New Year’s Eve in New York is something I’ve watched on TV from a young age and thought about being around for my whole life. What a wonderful life it is to be able to have the confidence, means, and time to do what you truly want.
Tucking my head out of Penn Station into the blustering snow-filled streets of the Big Apple was so different than the first time 14-year old international modeling Marybeth stepped onto the same roads. Instead of uncertainty, a stomach of excitement, and the usual teenage angst I felt grateful to be back, content, sure of myself, ever so thankful for the company that was holding my hand tight (hey, Sean) and a different kind of excitement that I’ve come to know very well. The excitement of getting to know a “new” place; it’s smells, sights, people, architecture, and food. And now getting to know whatever it means to have a vegan New Years Eve in New York.
We meandered through the snowflakes, almost certainly looking like tourists (who cares? not me) and ducking into a CVS to get some lotion for our bodies that were just shy of dry enough to spontaneously become petrified. Packing light is fantastic (one carry on each), but it also makes forgetting things more likely.
We stopped at some foodie spots including a vegan favorite, ByCHLOE , which was good but not spectacular. After many blocks walked, and the worlds clumpiest cup of matcha from a coffee shop that shall not be named, we made it to Hotel Chantelle for what was later described as a lackluster brunch and the best live jazz by my longtime friend Dandy Wellington, and his band.
Also, his girlfriend Darlene is a babe. Exhibit A:
After caffeinating yet again at Irving Farm Coffee and snapping some photos of the Lower East Side, we made a beeline for our cozy Brooklyn brownstone Airbnb and settled in.
Though we were wary of exiting the welcoming arms of our toasty brownstone and being cast into the bitter cold, we were lured away by the promise of better food at Toad Style. Vegan New Years Eve in New York isn’t complete without some of the best plant-based comfort food available. Toad Style is a local spot that’s a few doors down from what appeared to be the worlds sketchiest Muay Thai gym ever opened. We approached the dimly lit slim building with its bright yellow awning, passed by a patron outside smoking what was almost certainly a joint and entered to find the coziest and most amazing smelling restaurant on these streets. It’s 100% vegan, but probably not healthy, boasting menu items like fried pickles, burgers, grilled cheese and soup, and Bahn Mi. I’ll cut to the chase and say that this is among the best food we had while visiting the area. Period.
Once the sunlight hit our glistening ice-covered windows, we hit up a local spot called the Brooklyn Kettle which had hot coffee, warm smiles, and a great selection of plant-based creamer before making our way to Champ’s Diner, the other best vegan food of the trip. It’s a diner, that is all plant-based food. To those of you that are carnivorous, you may not realize how big of a deal this is, but it is.
I’ll save the long explanation of The Met and just show you some photos.
Despite being packed with the general public New Years Eve crowd, it was an excellent experience and awe-inspiring, which no doubt helped us make it through the frigid hours of awaiting the ball to drop in Time Square. We didn’t get “have to wear a diaper” distance to the ball-drop (because apparently, that’s a thing. Yikes.), but we took a distant glimpse at it around midnight and made memories that last a lifetime. No regrets.
The next morning surged with grogginess and the promise of a gelid dip in the Atlantic Ocean for someone (spoiler alert: not me) who wanted to join the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. It was -15 real feel on the beach as a reference.
The photos describe it better than I ever could, despite sacrificing better angles and lighting to be the best towel holder and support system I could be.
To recap: do what you want, travel often, eat great food, and keep good company.
I hope you all enjoyed a glimpse at what my New Years was like, and I’d love to hear about what you did below! Have you ever visited NYC for the holidays?
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See you there 😉