Spend the morning shopping in Midtown Manhattan
After our morning in Midtown Manhattan, the 4, 5, or 6 train whisks us to Union Square for some more holiday shopping. A wealth of handmade items can be found among the stalls, but this market can get crowded, and after all that skating, our bellies are rumbling.
Lunch options abound in Union Square. If you’re looking for a fancy atmosphere, Blue Water Grill will do nicely. Asian noodles make a quick meal at Republic, provided the wait’s not forever. I think we’ll head to City Bakery, at 3 West 18th Street, because their hot chocolate is to die for, and we’ll need some of that for our walk to SoHo later on.
Go for a stroll through Washington Square Park
Satiated from our organic meal, hot cocoa cups gripped firmly in hands, we head down Fifth Avenue where for a little window shopping at the big, attractive stores like Anthropologie and Paul Smith; and admire the apartment buildings on our way south.
Washington’s Arch, the gateway to Washington Square Park, looms in the distance. Constructed in 1892, the marble monument was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It replaced a temporary arch that went up in 1888 to celebrate the centennial of our first president’s inauguration. Restored a few years ago, one can approach the 77-foot structure and examine the details of Washington’s boots.
Cutting straight through the park we continue down Sullivan Street. This charming street is lined with shops, cafes, and St. Anthony’s Church, a wonderful piece of architecture dating from the late 19th century.
Enjoy a hot cup of Chai in SoHo
After crossing Houston Street, we’re in SoHo. Turning left onto Prince Street, we encounter galleries and upscale shops lining this attractive, but busy route. At number 464, we’ll stop in at the Hampton Chutney Company for another drink to warm us up, this time a hot cup of chai.
Continuing down Prince Street we encounter McNally Robinson Booksellers, our ultimate destination, because at this point, we’re just about chilled to the bone. An hour or so browsing the fabulous selection of books will do us some good. New fiction, art, and design titles are upstairs. Travel guides are downstairs. I’ll be in the cafe with a pile of magazines. If we’re lucky we might even catch a reading.
Relax by a fireplace in the East Village
As the sun starts to sink, it’s a good time for an aperitif. Around the corner, at 242 Mott Street, one of my favorite spots awaits. We stop into Cafe Gitane for a glass of Lillet. Could stay for dinner, but you’ve got to see the fireplace at the delectable 9th Street Market in the East Village, about a 30 minute stroll away.
We’ll walk up to Houston, head east for a block to Bowery, then make a left onto 2nd Street to peak into the enchanting Marble Cemetery. It’s one of the city’s oldest burial grounds, dating from the 1800s. Swinging left on 2nd Avenue, we amble north for seven blocks, turn right on 9th Street, and there it is. At 337 East 9th Street, 9th Street Market’s cozy interior beckons. We’ll have a most hearty and comforting meal by the fire.
Listen to Jazz music at Hotel Giraffe
After dinner, a short taxi rides gets us home to the luxurious Hotel Giraffe in the Flatiron District. If it’s a Monday night, we can enjoy a little jazz in the hotel’s “Grand Lobby”. Either way, a couple “Manhattan Crush” cocktails are just what we need after long winter day in New York.