A Tale of Three Christmas Cities: New York

December 25, 2015 City Breaks

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The Trundler had arrived in New York ready to immediately jump into her super insulating Heattech leggings, but instead, rather surprisingly, it was warm enough to go bare-legged. Mild and muggy weather greeted her, followed by downpours of rain.

At the Four Seasons Hotel in Mid-town, where she had mistakenly gone in search of the Four Seasons Restaurant, the kindly doorman offered her an umbrella. Apparently this is something which often happens in New York, but The Trundler felt she couldn’t accept this generous gift and instead ploughed on through the deluge to 99 East 52nd Street and The Seagram building, the true site of the restaurant. New Yorkers are such friendly, helpful people and were on hand to guide The Trundler through the rain.

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This New York landmark was designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson and has remained almost unchanged since it opened in 1959. One of its dining rooms is arranged around a real pool, but you can also sit at the elegant bar and enjoy the set price $35 lunch, served with the kind of panache you associate with this most hospitable city.

It was the perfect place to relish a pre-Christmas meal of oysters and a rib-eye steak burger, while watching fellow lunchers drinking classically constructed vodka martinis.

Sadly, this iconic restaurant is to be taken over in July, although its mid-century elegance will remain intact. Meanwhile it was a poignant pleasure to sit at the bar, eating festive biscuits and chatting to a delightful woman called Marjorie about new alternatives to Uber.

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No festive trip is complete without a visit to a great museum and on this occasion The Trundler loved the Coney Island exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum. She always likes to see people enjoying themselves by the seaside and relishing its quirky, uplifting charms. Photographs and paintings, garish artefacts and brazen signs celebrate this legendary New Yorker’s day-trip destination and all its liberating joys.

After also admiring the evocative paintings of Puerto Rican impressionist Francisco Oller, The Trundler tackled the pouring rain in search of warming Caribbean food.

Despite its idiosyncratic opening hours, she managed to find heavenly sustenance at The Food Sermon on the corner of Rogers Avenue and Sullivan Place, Brooklyn. Curry goat Roti and a roasted salmon Island Bowl were nourishing, flavoursome and sustaining. They also sent The Trundler into a slight daze, which led her to enjoy a small nap, while watching the seductive, stylish film Carol at the BAM(Broolyn Academy of Music) arts centre.
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Christmas shopping is made easy in New York by the presence of the in-store wrapper. How wonderful to just hand over this task, which normally sends The Trundler into a flustered frenzy of losing the Selotape ends and cutting the paper to the wrong size and having to start all over again. It felt so much better to just give her purchases to a charming assistant, who returned them a few minutes later, all tied up with pretty green bows.

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All that remained was to buy a large container of egg nog at one of Brooklyn’s many delis, which burst at the seams with a mix of gourmet and glutton-friendly food. The Trundler liked the sound of this traditional treat, but wasn’t quite sure what it was or what to do with it.

Luckily, her kind and generous hosts showed her the way. After a succulent buttery Turkey dinner and a slice of sharp, sumptuous Key Lime Pie, the warmed up Egg Nog was handed around to round off the festive feast. The Trundler won’t be drinking it on a regular basis – it was like cup of sugary custard – but it seemed like the right thing to do while opening crackers and playing the whistles found within them.

The Trundler was very glad she had started her day with a brisk walk in Fort Greene Park in the warm December air. She felt rather sweltering in her Heattech, but was happy to be walking up the steps immortalised in the first Rocky film, which had enthralled the young Trundler so many years ago. She had coveted a trip to gritty Brooklyn back then. How wonderful to spend 25 December 2015 in Fort Greene now.

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