Winter can be hard on even the most holiday spirited. Short days of either freezing rain or driving snow, the subways somehow always too hot or too cold, and everything feels like too much effort. But NYC has seen a lot more winters come and go than you or I, and it’s got plenty of ways to help you get through it — and maybe even enjoy the season.
The beauty of singing during the holidays is everyone is either too drunk or too happy to care if you’re tone deaf. AtZum Schneider(107 Ave. C, Alphabet City), they’re likely to be both. For the next two Sundays beginning at 1 p.m., the restaurant will be serving a special holiday menu (though the cookies and German fruitcake are free) and providing songbooks to diners to sing holiday carols. You’ll be accompanied not just by clicking steins but by a two-man band of guitar, accordion and dulcimer.
It’s worth braving the elements to browse the opulent shrines to consumerism that are Midtown department stores’ holiday window displays. To warm up after your trek, head below ground to the Plaza Hotel Food Hall (1 W. 59th St.), which just rounded out its tenant list with Epicerie Boulud and is all decked out in Christmas finery.
There’s nothing like a lazy cat to endorse your decision to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed all day, hiding from the weather. But if your landlord isn’t as enlightened, you can still enjoy the mood-boosting company of a friendly (and adoptable!) kitty at NYC’s first permanent cat cafe, Meow Parlour (46 Hester St.), with coffee and baked treats from Cat Lady-in-Chief Christina Ha of Macaron Parlour.
The city doesn’t have an indoor slope (yet?) but at least you can enjoy an apres ski toast at Hudson Lodge (356 W. 58th St., Midtown) Drawing decor inspiration from Canada’s rustic Mont Tremblant, the clear-tented terrace (don’t worry, it’s heated) creates the feeling of being inside a snowglobe, while dishes like the turducken pot pie and housemade ginger wine (for the Hot Toddies) will cheer your taste buds.
The opulent velvet and leather couches that dominate the hidden underground speakeasyRaines Law Room (48 W. 17th St., Flatiron) beckon you to curl up with an expert Prohibition-era cocktail. You won’t even have to leave your nook to get another round, with service bells at each table.
Saks Fifth Avenue (611 Fifth Ave.) has festive treats for grown-ups and big kids, with two pop-up bars: drink hot chocolate with a winter wonderland of mix-ins at "Mr. Chocolate" Jacques Torres’ ninth-floor cocoa bar, while Veuve Clicquot set up shop on fifth with a bubble soda fountain where you can also get small bites.
While you’re complaining about the gray and rain, just remember we only suffer it for a few months. But our British cousins are seasoned (get it?) veterans. Escape into the shabby chic Tea & Sympathy (108 Greenwich Ave.) with its floral-patterned tea sets and hearty English meals.
If you like local art, reasonably priced cocktails and a roaring fireplace, head to Art Bar (52 Eighth Ave., West Village). Holiday revelers, grab a booth by the bar; those nursing their bah-humbug mood can park themselves by the fireplace in the back. The kitchen is open late, and there’s a jukebox so you’re not stuck listening to the same five Christmas songs playing everywhere.
Window displays aren’t the only creative projects going on around town. Brookfield Place (200 Vesey St., FiDi) is hosting “Metamorphosis,” a nightly light display from dusk to midnight whose colors and patterns change every day through the end of the exhibit on Dec. 31.