by Emeric Harney December 24, 2021 12 min read 2 Comments
Our final city on our Harney Holiday Desteanation adventure is New York City. Did we save the best for last? Since our company is located in New York state, and we have a store in New York City, we’d have to say yes, we did save the best for last!
New York City is so well-known across the globe, and there are so many reasons why! One of the things that’s most interesting is of all the cities we’ve explored during this series -- Tokyo, Bangkok, Paris, London and Dublin -- NYC is the only one that’s not the capital of its country, although it was briefly from 1785 until 1790. It is, however, the most populous city in the U.S., with a population of 8.8 million. It is known around the world as a cultural, financial and media megapowerhouse (we made that word up because NYC deserves its own words), with a huge influence on entertainment, commerce, fashion, technology, education, politics, dining, arts, sports and just about everything you can think of. It’s been called many things, including the Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, Gotham, The Empire City, The Capital of the World, The City So Nice They Named It Twice and who knows what other names it’s been called!
New York’s five boroughs -- The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island -- are inhabited by a highly ethnically diverse population. More than 3.2 million residents were born outside the U.S., and as many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. America has been described as a melting pot, and NYC certainly embodies that description. It’s just one of the things that makes NYC so unique.
The list of iconic New York landmarks is nearly endless: the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Broadway, Fifth Avenue, One World Trade Center, Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Wall Street...the list, as we said, goes on and on. You could do nothing but be a tourist for weeks and months on end -- doesn’t that sound wonderful!
To really know New York, however, native New Yorkers will tell you that those attractions are only at the surface of understanding the city. There are so many neighborhood treasures and not-so-world-famous things to see and experience. For sure, dine at The Rainbow Room or Tavern on the Green, but then make sure you check out lesser known but equally New York eateries like Lombardi’s Pizza in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. Lombardi’s opened in 1905 and is recognized by the Pizza Hall of Fame (yes, there is one) as the first pizzeria in the U.S. Or Katz’s Delicatessen for classic Jewish deli offerings like a brisket or pastrami sandwich. Located on Houston Street (and it’s not pronounced like the city in Texas; it’s pronounced “how-ston”), this deli was the site of the famous deli scene in When Harry Met Sally. You know, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Of course, one must-see during your stay in NYC is the Harney Tea Store in SoHo! Located in Lower Manhattan in the tony SoHo shopping district (SoHo is short for “south of Houston street”), we opened this store in 2010 and are happy to report that after having to close shop during the height of the pandemic, we are open for business again! Stop in for a Hot Cinnamon Spice latte and a warm scone, they’re both so ho ho good!
New York-Inspired Teas
Move over, Britain! Afternoon tea in New York City is a THING! For a very relaxed, definitely affordable tea experience, we can again highly recommend our SoHo shop for a lovely cream tea and treats shopping break (although you can shop our teas and wares while you’re there!). But if you’re looking for a true afternoon tea experience with all the atmosphere and trappings of an elegant outing, there are loads of options. Some of the most popular are the BG Restaurant at the top of Berghdorf Goodman overlooking Central Park; Tiffany’s Blue Box Café where the clotted cream is dusted in glitter and the almond cakes are finished as little edible versions of Tiffany’s famous blue boxes; the Baccarat Hotel offers four tea themes: British, Russian, French and Turkish; Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon offers a five-course tea in a cozy setting with armchairs and fireplaces; Alice’s Tea Cup on W. 73rd is especially wonderful if you are bringing children, they’ll love the whimsical Alice in Wonderland atmosphere; Tea & Sympathy in Greenwich for a slightly less high-falutin’, more affordable tea; Cha-An Teahouse has recreated a Japanese teahouse experience complete with matcha and Japanese desserts; and of course the Star Lounge in the Ritz Carlton and the Palm Court in the Plaza Hotel. Seriously, we could go on all day.
Some of our most NYC-inspired offerings:
The Holidays in New York City
The holidays in the Big Apple -- it’s like Santa’s giant bag of presents exploded and peppered the city with lights, trees, decorations and all things merry and bright. It all starts, of course, with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is the world’s largest parade. Bookending the holidays is the world-famous ball drop in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve to usher in the new year. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a LOT to see and do.
In other words, you can do just about anything and everything in NYC during the holidays!
With a population as diverse as New York’s, there are of course other holidays that are celebrated in the city. For those who celebrate Hanukkah, or for anyone who wants to see something else spectacular, you can watch the lighting of the world’s largest menorahs. Both Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and Grand Army Plaza in Midtown offer lighting of their 32-foot high steel menorahs at sundown during the Jewish festival of lights. In search of great latkes, mile-high pastrami sandwiches or authentic bagels during Hanukkah? In addition to Katz’s Deli that we mentioned above, Russ & Daughters on Houston Street has been a latke go-to must for over a century. Another popular spot is Zabar’s on the Upper West Side. Zabar’s is known for their bagels, deli, latkes, rugelach and Hanukkah-themed gift baskets including a latke-specific insulated basket called A Lot ‘a Latkes Box. Liebman’s Deli in the Bronx offers up “bagel-sized” latkes during Hanukkah, so popular they make 2,000 a day during the holidays. One more we have to mention: Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side. They’re famous for their latkes and other wonderful eats, and they’re also famous for being featured in several movies and TV shows like Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Law & Order, You’ve Got Mail, Revolutionary Road, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and others.
People looking for Kwanzaa celebrations in NYC will not be disappointed, either. While there are many events held during the holiday, one that is sure to please is the Kwanzaa Celebration at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem. Since 2006, the Apollo has held this festive Kwanzaa event featuring dance and music honoring the traditions of Kwanzaa. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum also puts on five days of special Kwanzaa events highlighting the holiday’s culture, art, dancing and music and the exploration of Kwanzaa’s seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, faith and creativity.
In celebration of New York City’s diverse and vibrant population, we wanted to feature holiday dishes each representing Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Enjoy!
A New York City staple, New York cheesecake is a heavier, denser cheesecake made so by the addition of a heavy cream or sour cream along with more eggs. It’s a beautiful addition to any Christmas dinner.
Ingredients for the Crust:
Ingredients for the Filling:
Berry Sauce Ingredients:
Berry Sauce Instructions:
Fried foods are part of traditional Hanukkah dinners in a nod to the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the holy temple in Jerusalem. Also, they’re just delicious!
While there is no truly traditional Kwanzaa meal, you’ll most often find food with African, Caribbean, South American or Southern influences. This African dish also fits the red, black and green colors often found in Kwanzaa dishes.
December 26, 2021
The ethnic New York recipes look and sound delicious, indeed. The cool pics make me ‘almost’ be able to smell and taste them now. YUMSKERS!
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January 21, 2022
Congratulations! Great review, nice memories and yet a lot to discover in NYC.