Friday, December 23, 2011

An Untraditional Big Apple Christmas

We were in New York City last week for a few days, and since this was not the first time I'd seen

NYC all decked out in its Christmas finery, we took a few detours to see some places one doesn't usually go on a trip to the Big Apple in December.

We loved the food vendors all lit up for the holidays,

and the whiff of chestnuts roasting on their fires.

Instead of a Broadway play, we headed to Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway at 51st Street.

A retro 50's diner, the singing waitstaff puts on incredible shows each evening and you'll be thoroughly entertained

by some of these talented young people who are all aspiring to get on Broadway.

We headed to SoHo on one afternoon, stopping first at the infamous John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street, known for its brick oven thin crust pizza. Originally opened in 1929,

the pizza is listed in the North American edition of 1000 Places to See Before You Die, and the Food Network featured it in their "Best Of" series. Look it up the next time you're in town--you might even spot a celebrity or two dining there.

Just down the street, we spotted Molly's Cupcakes, which my niece identified as the winner of the TV show Season 1 Cupcake Wars.

Of course, Megan, my niece and I had to try them out, and I tell you, it was one of the moistest cupcakes I've ever tasted. The place is cute as a bug inside too, with a welcoming decor, and swing seats at the coffee bar and board games sitting around, encouraging you to take your time and stay awhile. So unlike my experience at the more famous Magnolia Bakery, which is a bit overhyped.

One of their award winning cupcakes is the Peach Cobbler Cupcake. Along with that, there was a  huge selection to choose from, and what did I select? It was a "back to basics" day for me, and I chose the simple chocolate cake with white icing, which they iced while I waited--offering "with sprinkles or not." Probably the best cupcake I've had in a long time!

Of course, you might prefer to try the cupcakes from this street vendor, but I bet you can't beat Molly's!
Chicagoans--the original Molly's is in your hometown!

Still exploring SoHo, we found Treasure & Bond, a unique charitable concept store, that had recently opened.

Believe it or not, its parent company is Nordstroms, which has yet to open a store in the Manhattan area. Instead they have opened this unique and interesting store, all whose proceeds benefit children's charities. Many think they are testing the market to see just how New Yorkers shop, before coming in with a full size department store.

With housewares, accessories, gifts

jewelry and clothing to choose from, the store is off and running.

Next on our list was MarieBelle's

which is known for its divine range of chocolates and hot chocolate,

and I fell in love with its interior and product selection. So, so tempting--why did I fill up on pizza and cupcakes before finding you??

Lucky for me on this trip, I had the chance to see the Elizabeth Taylor collection of jewels, clothing, accessories, art and memorabilia that was displayed to the public before being auctioned by Christie's.

Although photos were not really allowed, I grabbed one quick snap of a few of her dresses, before heading off to see the amazing jewel collection she had collected through the years--many of them gifts form Richard Burton, Mike Todd and even Michael Jackson.

Antique and the Arts Online

Definitely, the most beautiful "decorations" I saw this Christmas season, the jewels were amazing. The first day of the auction, the 50 carat "La Peregrina" pearl necklace, a gift from Richard Burton, sold for $11.8 million dollars.
I put a few of the "baubles" on my Christmas list this year, so let's see what I find in my stocking!

Then it was off to Bergdorf Goodman's with its elaborate window displays and quirky trees, 

where I headed to their Christmas department and found this whimsical Marie Antoinette, as I named her, and wondered if the only one way to get her home would be to buy her an extra seat on the plane next to me!

Then for the most untraditional part of all my Christmas exploring in NY--the Lady Gaga Workshop in Barney's Department Store on the 5th floor.

Deemed a "reinterpretation" of Santa's workshop, the 5th floor of the iconic and elegant Barney's New York store on Madison Avenue has been transformed. 

With a range of special edition items to select from for your Christmas shopping, would you choose the Lady Gaga stockings,

"chocolate shoes,"

decorated cookies `a la Gaga,

her own interpretation of a snow globe,

magnetic doll dress up set,

or this one-of-a-kind skull ornament for your tree?

There's something for all her "little monsters," and the upside of this bizarre, but wildly popular Workshop is that 25% of the sales will go to her newly created anti-bullying Born That Way foundation.

Not your typical New York City tour of Christmas decor, but I hope it was a fun peek into the city in December, nevertheless.
And now it's time to wish all of you the merriest Christmas, full of joy, and to express my gratitude for all your gifts and expressions of love all year long.
May your new year be blessed.


  1. Naughty you - taking that picture of Elizabeth Taylor's collection - and right before Christmas, too! Looks like so much fun and beautiful pictures.

  2. It was a great tour of New York. I loved every place we went together. haha
    Beautiful post as always
    Wanted to come by and wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope some of Liz's gems are in your stocking.
    Love ya

  3. Well, it was New York at it's finest, but you certainly do it justice with your great photos! They should hire you to do a pictorial ad for them! I'd love to know what camera you use, or what settings because you certainly can't lug a big camera all over. Do you use a point and shoot?
    Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Deb!

  4. Thank you for some good places to check out the next time we are in the City. I'm starting to think I should check in with you before I go anywhere!

    Also, thank you for continuing to post my blog in your list of Favorite Blogs though I haven't posted since June. I do intend to get back there. More "songs to sing" in 2012!

  5. I enjoyed your untraditional tour. Looked like a fun time. Believe it or not, I have had a Lady Gaga song running through my head for 2 days now.

  6. THANK YOU for this special trip to my husband's home town. We were there together ONCE but certainly not enough time for me to scour the streets and corners to find SUCH DELIGHT!!! HELLO THERE DEAREST! Thank you for making your way over to see me and I wish YOU a happy 2012! Your comments are so dear and again, thank you for such sweet friendship. HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEARS!!! Anita

  7. Well honey if your in London you have already rang in the New Year but if your in Houston it won't be long. lol
    Just thinking of you wondering what city you were having a ball in tonight. Can't wait to see your next post about your travels
    I am home with Tinkerbell tonight but that is good.
    Wishing you a very very Happy New Year

  8. Oh what a gorgeous post this is....Dearest, thank you for your kind words and THE BEST IS YET TO COME...God bless you and may HE accord to you a wonderful and enchanting new year! Anita

  9. How fabulous! I think it's always worth going a bit off the beaten track and discorver something new in a place. These pics make me want to bring Christmas straight back and head over for a visit to NY.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you all the very best for a very happy 2012 xo

  10. Hello, dear Debi! Happy New Year!!!

    My, this is a fabulous tour of the Big Apple! I'm kind of exhausted just reading about all you did, saw and ate! I've never been there during the holiday times so this was a such treat.

    – g