Happy New Year, everyone!
So, you came to NYC to watch the ball drop with the rest of the huddled masses in Times Square. You drank copious amounts of champagne and resolved that, in the year ahead, you were going to better yourself or the world at large. Now, in the cold light of morning, you’re wondering how to start 2017 off on the right foot.
No worries, intrepid travelers! I’m here to help! Let’s look at a few of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions together and see what NYC has to offer to get you going.
Lose Weight and Stay Fit
Everyone wants to look their best. New Yorkers are no exception. We love the gym. Or, at least, we make a damn good show of acting like we love it. But there are lots of ways to maintain your physique without pumping irons all day.
If you’re considering a juice detox, might I suggest The Butcher’s Daughter? This vegetarian café and juice bar and café in Nolita has smoothies, elixir shots and cold pressed juices sure to alleviate everything from a nasty hangover to the common cold. And they’re delicious to boot. It’s a win-win!
The Butcher’s Daughter
19 Kenmare Street
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to shedding last year’s dead weight, sweating a few pounds off might be a good way to jump start your year of wellness. There are a plethora of excellent spas to choose from. But, for a truly authentic, only in New York experience, you’ve got to go to The Russian and Turkish Baths.
Established more than 120 years ago, this place is the real deal. A no frills, no nonsense, no clothing banya (a Russian steam bath) on the Lower East Side where you can lounge in the granite sauna or endure a gentle beating with a venik (that’s a bundle of twigs or leafy branches bound together and used to pulverize your aching muscles.)
If you believe the hype, the health benefits of places like this include cleansing the skin, sweating out impurities, boosting your immune system and, of course, weight loss.
Being a traditional establishment, the baths are only co-ed at certain days and/or times. (Check their calendar for details.) But for only $45 admission, it’s a total steal. There’s even a café where you can undo all the work you just put into your new, svelte self by ordering a Polish sausage! And why not? As the old Russian proverb goes, “The day you spend in the banya is the day you do not age.”
Russian & Turkish Baths
268 East 10th Street
Spend Less, Save More
It’s no secret that New York is an expensive town. But if you’re feeling thrifty, there’s a store for that! Actually, there are few!
Buffalo Exchange is the consignment chain to end all consignment chains. With a healthy mix of vintage and brand name merchandise and a stock that is constantly changing, you can rest assured you’ll find something new every time you stop in. And they buy clothes, too. So, if you suddenly find yourself in need of cash for airfare, this would be a good placed to lose your shirt!
L Train Vintage
Locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
With seven locations in two boroughs and the bulk of their wares being sold for $50 or less, this is the ideal place to score a one-of-a-kind souvenir without breaking the bank. They even carry a selection of “Reworked Vintage” that inevitably sells out in record time.
Angel Street Thrift in Chelsea is an upscale, secondhand boutique where the proceeds go toward assisting people living with HIV/AIDS or addiction.
Angel Street Thrift
118 West 17th Street
You can score cheap, designer threads and accessories or gently used furniture and household goods all while supporting a good cause. Which brings me to my next resolution…
Be More Charitable
There are dozens upon dozens of worthy causes out there and you should take some time considering which one resonates with you. But, if you’re looking for something New York-centric, here are a few NYC based charities and organizations that are incredibly deserving of your time and your (tax-deductible) donations.
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen
The city’s largest emergency food program, serving roughly one thousand homeless and hungry New Yorkers, daily. You can make charitable donations through their website or, if you want to go the extra mile and give of your free time, you can volunteer to help hand out meals on the weekday of your choosing.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
The amazing people at BCEFA have been on the front lines of the battle to combat HIV/AIDS since 1987. The funds they raise also go toward supporting the Actor’s Fund, the Al Hirschfeld Free Clinic and the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. The main weapon in their arsenal is the boundless talent and generosity of NYC’s theatre community (Equity is the Stage Actor’s Union). But anyone can support this worthy cause. Donations can be made through their website.
Whoever you are and where ever you come from, you owe at least part of your success to the teachers who shaped and guided you. Say “thank you” to a teacher by supporting the work they do on behalf of our city’s children. This fabulous non-profit group allows teachers to post funding requests on their website, asking for anything from notebooks and pens, to classroom computers, to books for school libraries. Then, charitable individuals such as yourself go online and fund these purchases either fully or partially. You’ll even be sent photos and thank-you notes from the students and teachers who you’ve helped. It doesn’t get much better than that.
New York Foundation for the Arts
Donations to this almost fifty-year-old organization supports the work of emerging artists across sixteen disciplines. A number of local luminaries, including director Julie Taymor and architect Ricardo Scofido, have been the beneficiaries of this organization’s dedicated efforts on behalf of aspiring artists.
The Henry Street Settlement
For over a century, The Henry Street Settlement has been serving the people of the Lower East Side, providing everything from day care, to mental health services, to shelter for abused women and children. If you’ll be in the city for an extended period of time, you can volunteer here as a tutor or job coach. If you’d prefer to make a donation you can do so through their website or by calling the number listed above.
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
You are aware I run a tour company, right? If you’re looking for an exciting, memorable experience to share with friends and family in NYC, FOLLOW ME!