When the cold hurts, like it has been hurting lately, my philosophy is to basically just stay indoors. I’m not in to skying, sledding, ice fishing, or anything remotely winter-y. But when I need to get out of the house, I either go hide in a movie theater, or find places that offer assorted diversions under one roof.
There’s Eataly, for example, an Italian “amuse-bouche park” in Flatiron, where you can hop from one food stand to another gulping pastas, frutti di mare, salumi, and wine. You can also shop for groceries while you’re there. The place is often crowded, which can be annoying, and I would probably avoid it in the summer (including its high-decibel rooftop bar), but for a wintry weekend afternoon it’s kind of perfect. And if you’re in the market for charcuterie, cheeses, fresh pasta, sauces, and hard-to-find vegetables, Eataly stocks fantastic products. You can also browse through tons of cookbooks.
(photos from Eataly.com)
Another winter-friendly place is the mall at Columbus Circle. It’s not very New York, being a mall and all, but if you’re looking to spend a few hours shielded from the elements, you’ll find plenty of shops, a few upscale bars and restaurants, and amazing views. My favorite spot there is Bouchon Bakery Cafe. It’s in an open space, right in front of the huge wall of windows overlooking Central Park, and serves very tasty patisseries, as well as decent savory stuff, like butternut squash quiche.
(Photos from Bouchonbakery.com)