When I lived in New York City, I always made it a habit of leaving the city during the winter months, usually after the Holidays. Conversely, in the winter of 2015, I stayed behind.
That January, meteorologists predicted the worst snowstorm in years, with as much as 18 inches of snow for New York City. Well, we woke up to less than a foot of snow yet the subway and roads were closed. The much-hyped storm turned out to be a total bust.
Fast forward to this year, the “bomb cyclone,” aka Winter Storm Grayson— surprised us to show us what a blizzard really is. Not only this snowstorm messed up thousands of traveler’s plans – including my photographer’s – but also made me realize I genuinely DISLIKE cold weather.
This guide was going to include a road trip to Upstate New York, but Mother Nature got in our way. Don’t worry! I will still make it there – eventually! In the meantime, here’s a list fantastic activities, restaurants and gay winter fun you can do in New York City when it’s cold outside.
WHERE TO SLEEP
If you’re looking to save some money on your trip to New York City, you should consider staying in a hostel. For first-timers, this might sound pretty daunting, but there’s nothing to fear, they’re plenty to choose from. Some like The Local NY in Long Island City features terrific amenities such as a coffee shop/bar and a rooftop with the best Manhattan view. I enjoyed staying there, and I will tell you all about it in the next blog post. Stay tuned!
WHAT TO DO
One of the perks of New York City during the winter: Central Park. Strolling through the park after a snow day is like walking into a winter wonderland. One of the most popular things to do among New Yorker’s and tourists alike is ice-skating at the Wollman Rink – Even Blair Waldorf likes it there! The Manhattan skyline behind it is picture perfect.
Insider Tip: Avoid the lines by getting there before noon and keep in mind the ice resurfacing times. – Open through April (weather permitting)
If you aren’t shy or easily aroused, planning a vacation around the annual, No Pants Subway Ride will make your trip even more exciting. The No Pants Subway Ride started as a small prank among friends in NYC 17 years ago but quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. Today, thousands of people take their pants off on subways in over 60 cities in more than 25 countries. This year, I was beyond ecstatic to be able to do it too (FOR THE FIRST TIME). I still can’t believe I missed it when I lived in the city.
Insider Tip: The dates change from year to year, but it is held in January. Check Improv Everywhere in early December to find out when it’s happening.
For those looking to connect with gay men outside the bars and dance floor, Guy Social meet-ups provide the ideal scenario. Since this is a winter guide, why don’t you join them for a day trip to Mountain Creek Resort? How does a 90-minute bus ride full of gays sound? You get to enjoy tubing, skiing & cocktails at The Lodge. Jan 27 @ 9:00 AM on 42nd St, between 10th/11th Ave.
Must Know: $30 round-trip transportation *Guests will pay for their own ski option the day of event. The full details HERE
WHERE TO EAT
The best thing to eat when you’re ready to take a break from exploring cold New York is food that warms you inside and out; like the carb-loaded dishes at The Sosta. I attended the opening party last summer, and this cute Nolita spot blew me away. – Mainly because of it’s Mangiamo, Baby! Neon sign. But after trying out the full menu, I must say I was impressed. This fast-casual authentic Italian restaurant offers house-made pasta, antipasti boards and a rotating selection of Italian cookies.
Must Know: They just launched a monthly collaboration with special guests. This January, food writer Katie Parla and the Sosta’s chef Ali LaRaia created the Spaghetti AOPC, that is too die for! Pair it with chicken meatballs and their arugula salad for the ultimate Italian fest.
If you enjoy breakfast as much as I do, you should venture to Dimes in the borders of Chinatown. I discovered this micro-eatery on Instagram. At first, its colorful tabletops caught my eye – Duh! Endless photo opportunities. When I saw the menu was centered on breakfast, I knew I had to check it out. Everybody goes nuts about their acai bowls, me, I prefer the fantastic Matcha Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberry-ginger compote and cornflower seed granola.
Insider Tip: The breakfast sandwich of fluffy scrambled egg with cheddar, sliced avocado, and sweet-pickled jalapeno is also delicious. Best part, they serve breakfast until 4 pm.
WHAT TO SEE
When travelers think of visiting Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Bushwick come to mind. However, there’s a spectacular waterfront neighborhood that’s often ignored: Dumbo. The industrial district with cobblestone streets and converted warehouse buildings is full of exciting shops, restaurants, and galleries. Best way to get there, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, that way, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
Insider Tip: You can find the coveted view of the Manhattan Bridge framed by the brick buildings on Washington Street.
Winter in New York gets old pretty fast, luckily Moke America and Louis Vuitton will make you forget about the cold weather. Stop by the brand’s 655 Madison Avenue pop-up shop to see the iconic beach buggy, wrapped in a custom LV design inspired by their SS18 men’s collection. Men’s creative director Kim Jones pays homage to the tropical theme that took over the 90’s. – A perfect fit given Moke’s associated with coveted resort destinations including St. Tropez and St. Barth’s.
Must Know: In addition to the custom Moke, the pop-up will also offer Louis Vuitton’s SS18 men’s Aloha collection. Denim bucket hats, neoprene trousers, and vibrant blouses will be curated around the heritage custom-designed car, providing a taste of what is like to journey through the magical Caribbean islands. – Helping you make it until the Spring. Open through March 1st.
WHERE TO PARTY
I still remember the first Brüt party I went to: it was a Saturday night at Santos Party House. The monthly leather party instantly became a favorite among New Yorker’s because it’s all-inclusive attitude. Leather daddies, genderbender creatures, all united in a wicked and steamy atmosphere. Up next, Brüt Basement – An uncharted territory ready to be whipped into submission. Jan 27 @ 11 PM | Rosewood Theater – 552 West 38th Street New York, NY.
The revival of VIVA! Saturday’s is here! These guys introduced the concept of weekly circuit parties in New York City. It feels like if it was yesterday when I was lining up outside Stage 48 in nothing but my booty shorts, high socks and sneakers! Trust me when I say, if anyone knows how to throw a party, is VIVA! ! Feb 3 @ 11 PM | FREQ – 637 West 50th Street, New York, NY
Lifestyle photos by Chel Wardell