A Winter Break for Grownups
Need a hiatus from winter? Book a night at a cozy hotel and take advantage of NYC’s fun, food and culture.
Tired of the gray landscape out your window? Perhaps it’s time to for a change of pace. Manhattan may be subject to the same gray days that we encounter in the FC landscape in February and March, but its diversions are unsurpassed. And it’s remarkable how a mini-vacation in new surroundings will soothe the soul. Bring the companion of your choice—your spouse, sister, best friend, adult child—and book an overnight to remember.
With hundreds of hotels from which to choose, it might be hard to pick. But when you’re out all day having fun, it’s nice to stay at a small hotel that is quiet and centrally located, with attractive rooms, cloudlike beds, and solicitous staff. I like the Hotel Chandler, located in the Flatiron district and convenient to so many neighborhoods and to Grand Central Station, my jumping-off point. There are carafes of hot coffee and a selection of teas 24/7 in the lobby, a great feature when you come in from the cold; chic, well-appointed rooms (Molton Brown toiletries, Frette linens and robes); and last but certainly not least, incredibly comfortable beds to sink into when you’ve come back from an activity-packed day. Everyone here provides service with due speed, and a smile. The price is right, too; check the website for special deals and packages: Valentine’s Day, Bryant Park skating, sweet winter weekend rates for suites, and more.
The Hotel Chandler is a small luxury hotel, designed by the architects of the Sherry Netherland, and recently updated with cozy boutique appointments.
For the arts, big cultural venues—the Met, MOMA-- get all the attention, but don’t forget the small gems: right now, you can view a special exhibit of priceless watches and clocks at The Frick Collection, an exquisite mansion turned museum just a few steps from Fifth Avenue and Central Park on East 71st Street. Coming February 12 is the first American monographic exhibition dedicated to the work of Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca, followed on March 12 by a show of Impressionist works, including drawings and prints by Monet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), The Seated Clowness (Miss Cha-U-Kao), from the Elles portfolio, 1896. © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1962.108
Fashion: The spring collections have begun to appear in the windows, and Fashion Week brings out style mavens all over town; for clothing or home, there’s plenty of shopping to do. For a hint of spring, Bunny Williams’garden shop, Treillage, just a couple of blocks from the Frick on Lexington Avenue, always looks fresh and green and sets one dreaming of outdoor rooms and flowers in bloom.
Puppy alert! We love our dogs, and one of the highlights of February in New York is the annual Westchester Kennel Club Dog Show, held at Madison Square Garden and, for the first time, at Piers 92/94 (West 55th Street & West Side Highway) February 11 and 12. You’ll see some amazing dogs put through their paces, pick your favorites, and see how they stack up with the judges’ opinions.
With all the walking around, you’ll probably be hungry. Head for your favorite restaurant or try something new. With locations in SoHo, Chelsea, and in midtown, if you’d like to share a paella with your running buddy, Socarrat is named for the delicious crusty part of the paella in the bottom of the pan. Not only do the restaurants offer several kinds of paella, but a wonderful wine list that includes pitchers of Sangria as well as red and white Spanish wines that are great accompaniment for a communal meal of paella, or a sampling from the restaurant’s abundant tapas menu. As they say in Spain, “Buen provecho.” Enjoy your meal, and your winter break!