The sudden smell of pine trees as you walk by the Christmas tree salesmen perched at every corner, the glow of Fifth Avenue shops all dressed up in thousands of twinkling lights, the sight of tourists huddled over maps — and chicly bundled New Yorkers striding right by them… There’s an extra dash of magic about Manhattan in December. As a native New Yorker, I grew up with my own set of winter traditions. Here, some of my favorite downtown picks — and one uptown shopping tradition I never fail to indulge in!
—Eva Chen, evachen212.tumblr.com
As someone who goes to Paris at least twice a year, I’m quite finicky about my croissants (too dry! too flaky! too buttery! not buttery enough!). Soho institution Balthazar, however, has the best croissants outside of Paris. It’s also the perfect spot to stop at in the mornings — to pick up baguettes (for the holiday season’s endless march of dinner parties), have a spot of tea, and for the absolutely best people-watching downtown.
The Manhattan equivalent of stopping to smell the roses is to walk — and take the long route as often as possible. There isn’t a street in NYC that doesn’t have character, especially in Soho, Nolita, Tribeca, and the Lower East Side.
It’s a mad, mad world — especially when it comes to nail art in New York City! At Valley Nails in Nolita, no request is too detailed. From simple manicures (by that I mean a classic nude, but in their book that’d mean ombre glitter!) to ultra-detailed reproductions of straight-off-the-runway patterns, Valley offers top-notch manicures and pedicures in regular polish as well as gel.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but biking is the quickest way to get around Manhattan. My rules: stick to the bike lanes, be aware of taxis/buses/other bikers, and — as bikers are street style fodder like no other — look chic!
Ebony and Ivory: my nicknames for New York’s most darling dogs Otto and Teddy (I’m biased, of course). Their park of choice — and mine as well — is Washington Square Park, which just underwent a beautiful restoration.
No holiday season is complete without a Saks spree. But as holiday shopping is decidedly hard work, I operate with a strict “one for you, one for me” policy when picking presents!