Holiday magic

Everyone agrees that New York City in the holiday season is magical. Only a few hours from Montreal lies another world, especially at this time of the year.

Like many major cities, New York dresses up for the holiday season. Each store window is more attractive than the next Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s among the most anticipated. Even the streets wear holiday trappings, and the atmosphere is worthy of a fairy tale, a promise of pleasure.

Preferring to be near the major shopping venues, I chose the New York Palace Hotel, conveniently located on Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st, where we were warmly welcomed. This century old property was recently fully refurbished. The rooms in the towers offer spectacular views of the city. If you prefer Soho, try the Crosby Street Hotel, or the Mercer, both excellent spots.

Where to start in this iconic metropolis? Stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge to a borough experiencing a major revival in recent years. Or maybe a trip to the ice rink in Central Park, or Rockefeller Center with its legendary Christmas tree. Perhaps, a walk on the High Line, a popular new park, with a stop at Chelsea Market, suggested to me by my friend Isabelle. Or a visit to the legendary Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), followed by lunch at Balthazar, always overbooked.

We all have our favourites in New York. Personally, I like to start the day at Le Pain Quotidien bakery, followed by a stroll though Bryant Park and up Fifth Avenue. I love taking in the famous competing fashion houses. Good restaurants are everywhere, including Daniel Boulud’s, Fig & Olive, whose Quebec chef Pascal Lorange, cooks without cream and butter. Don’t forget the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, an original and friendly lunch-counter equipped with stools.

As for shopping, aside from the big names listed above, small shops along Spring Avenue offer a nice selection. Take note that Sarah Pacini opened in Soho just last year. For shoe lovers, Manolo Blahnik on 54th Street is worth a visit! Forage from one shop to another by taxi: they’re ubiquitous, affordable, and allow you to move around easily.

The city at this time of year is sure to warm hearts, allowing us to relive the magic of the holidays!


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