Now is the season that’s designed for couples, because let’s face it: there’s nothing single-lady-friendly ‘til St. Patrick’s Day. On the other hand, if you’re going solo for Christmas, New York will take excellent care of you. Here’s a December 25th itinerary to make Manhattan yours:
Visit Max Brenner around mid-day for some of New York’s most delicious hot chocolate. They serve dark, milk, or white in a variety of styles, thick and sweet in mugs that you cradle with both hands. Or, if you can’t handle that much chocolate, try a nicely balanced white chocolate chai. You could order a savory lunch here, though their menu of chocolate-laced items is extensive. The fondue is exponentially better than your last at-home attempt and you can chase it with a chocolatey White Russian.
Duck into the Russian & Turkish Baths around late afternoon for the best antidote to winter malaise. This East Village institution has been around since 1892, and while it’s a bit worn and dingy inside, it’s a must if you love the vestiges of old New York. There’s a café on the ground floor serving Eastern European staples like herring, blini (crepes), borsch (beet soup), and pelmeni (dumplings). But down in the basement is the reason you came: an absolutely punishing Russian sauna, a drier Redwood sauna, an aromatherapy room, a steam room, and a chilling 46-degree pool that brings your heart rate down and gives you that rush of rejuvenation. Bring your bathing suit and they’ll provide towels, flip flops, and lockers. All-day admission is $35; services like a massage or platza are extra (check their website for specific men-only, women-only, and co-ed hours).
Grab dinner at Shanghai Café down in Chinatown. This affordable, colorfully-lit spot never disappoints, especially the pork-and-crab soup dumplings and fresh broccoli with tangy garlic sauce. For dessert, try a couple of petite, creamy egg tarts from Tai Pan Bakery nearby on Canal Street. Generally speaking, Christmas doesn’t exist in Chinatown, so have at it.
Have you spent a solo Christmas in New York?