The 12 Things You Must Do In NYC On 12/12/12

Whether you think today is magically auspicious or a reminder that the clock’s quickly-a-tickin’ to Dec. 21st doomsday, the greatest takeaway is this: we must seize the day. So get out there and make today your best. Make it amazing. It just might be your last…

1. Breakfast at Clinton St. Baking Company: since it’s a weekday, the line is shorter than ever, bringing you that much closer to ordering their signature blueberry pancakes and sugar-cured bacon, and being lifted to the celestial heaven that is fluffy pancakes.

2. Put on a sweater and puffy jacket, rent a bike from the Waterfront Bike Shop, and ride across the Brooklyn Bridge and into DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is no better view of this sparkling gem of a city than on that 129-year-old bridge and from that grassy park.

3. Sweeten the day with the city’s best cupcakes at Sweet Revenge. Today’s specialty offering is the eggnog cupcake with spiced cream cheese frosting, though the major must-get is their signature namesake treat: the Sweet Revenge with peanut butter cake, ganache center, and peanut butter fudge frosting.

4. Drink the day away at Chelsea Brewing Company and frolic drunkenly along the Hudson River. End your tipsy journey with mouthfuls of the giant peanut butter and blackberry jam doughnut and carrot cake doughnut at Chelsea’s Doughnut Plant.

5. Visit West Garden Spa for an “afternoon delight” if ya know what I mean, guys.

6. Rent that helicopter and soar across NYC like a bird. A 15-minute ride above the Statue of Liberty is just $169, which is what you’d pay anyway for dinner-and-drinks-for-two at West Village haven of deliciousness: Perilla.

7. Go ice skating in the heart of Central Park at Wollman Skating Rink, and wrap your hands around a steaming, frothy cup of hot chocolate from nearby  Jacques Torres at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

8. Have a tea party with all of your best friends at English cottage-inspired Tea & Sympathy, and go nuts over their scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam, kettles of vanilla mint tea, welsh rarebit, and chicken pot pie.

9. Watch the city melt into dark at sunset from the Top of the Rock observation deck.

10. When 5pm hits, head straight to cocktail favorite Mother’s Ruin for their spicy Brazilian coconut cocktail and devour their bready, cheesy, greasy, beautiful grilled cheese.

11. Finally talk to that adorable person you always see on the subway. Flirt, ask them out, make a move.

12. Because no one wants to go back to their apartment (and roommate), end the night in luxury at the Bowery Hotel

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4 Out of 5: Colleen Nika on New York

Colleen Nika is editor of Rolling Stone’s Thread Count, a daily column that explores the intersections of music and fashion culture. She is also DJ for and curator of Nightvision, a nonconformist and forward-leaning music editorial, radio, and live music platform kicking off in full effect in 2012.This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Hotoveli – "The coolest avant-garde boutique in NYC, tucked away on a leafy street in my old neighborhood. They fit my off-duty assassin aesthetic pretty well, carrying rare Westwood, Owens, Comme Des Garcons, Ilaria Nistri, and some rarer import labels. They always have something amazing locked away behind glass, too. I DJed a cool Fashion Week party here last September. The boutique’s co-proprietor, Cody Ross, who also runs the label Priestess NYC, is truly one of my favorite people in the city."

Mela Foundation’s Dream House – "I like to listen to a lot of drone and ambient music these days, which can either evoke feelings of unease or placate them. I feel like a lot of people are on that wavelength right now, so it’s auspicious for us that an actual drone zone exists in NYC. La Monte Young (who Brian Eno hailed as ‘the daddy of’ all studied ambient sounds) once conceived of a Dream House — a place you could go just to experience sound and light in their purest forms. With the Mela Foundation’s help, he did just that. It’s nice to know that in our crumbling and austere times, such a specialized little universe can still exist, and right in the heart of Tribeca. Young still performs here on Saturdays."

Obscura Antiques & Oddities –  "I love this place because it means the oddest and most macabre artifacts Manhattan has to offer can be found five minutes from my door. Their specialty: decaying curiosa. This can mean something like a weird chess set or creepy dolls they find at an estate sale to something more sinister, like memento mori or a Tibetan death skull. They often partner with The Observatory, another favorite NYC anomaly, which is a morbid workshop, lecture space, and reading room based in a corner of a library in Gowanus. They had a mummified cat I considered buying before it became the talking point of a related TV series The Science Channel produces."

Myers of Keswick – "For all my favorite British Imports. I grew up under a strong British influence, and I’m still very connected to the culture, which means I sometimes crave its more savory goods. You can’t beat buying this stuff in the motherland (I plan to do most of my Christmas shopping in London), but when I’m in NYC, I buy all my British teas, biscuits, preserves, crisps, candies, and curry here. And not only food and drink — they even carry Fairy liquid and Lemsips and other household goods. Plus, it’s only blocks from Tea & Sympathy and A Salt & Battery, a whole little domain they were aiming to dub ‘Little Britain’. It hasn’t happened yet, but we hold out hope."

NOT SO MUCH

Terminal 5 – "Full disclosure: I got punched in the face at a Hives show in 2008 here, and it’s been on my shitlist ever since. But because of the way the Bowery Presents chain of command works, every moderately successful commercial act plays this venue, which is a shame because it’s awful. The sound is horrendous, the location makes the hike over almost not worth whatever fun the experience may otherwise offer, and its ambiance is zero. I still prefer Roseland Ballroom, or better yet, the more elegant Hammerstein Ballroom, for a more satisfying mid-scale concert experience."

Restaurant Remake: Carol Han Brings Tea & Sympathy’s Lemon Cake Home

Milk & Mode is the personal blog of Carol Han, who’s gigs in the fashion world include editor, writer, and, currently, one half of digital consultancy firm CA Creative. She’s also an incredibly prolific home cook, which is why Milk & Mode explains how to prep quick and delicious recipes in a shoebox-size city kitchen like Han’s own cook lab. Here, she shares her recipe remake of Tea & Sympathy‘s Sugar-Glazed Lemon Cake for you to attempt at home – or to inspire you to place an order.

The Dish: Sugar-Glazed Lemon Cake Restaurant:Tea & Sympathy When to Eat It: On a lazy Sunday afternoon when you’re hanging around the house, reading the weekend paper, and sipping tea or coffee. Level of Difficulty: (Scale 1-5) 2 Restaurant vs. Home: I love the atmosphere at Tea & Sympathy—a friend brought me there for the first time a few months ago and I fell in love with the tiny tables, the saucy waitresses, and most of all, their old-fashioned beef stew. I was so enamored with it that I went next door to buy their cookbook right after our meal, and made this lemon cake from it the next day. It comes out absolutely delicious, but if you’re craving the whole experience, I would highly recommend making a stop at the restaurant. Drink Pairing: A strong black or green tea.

Recipe: Sugar-Glazed Lemon Cake adapted from Tea & Sympathy, by Anita Naughton and Nicola Perry Ingredients: For the cake: 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter 3/4 cup sugar 2 large eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Juice and zest of 2 lemons 1/4 cup whole milk For the glaze: 1/2 cup sugar Juice of 4 lemons

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the cake: Grease and flour an 8 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf tin. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With a spatula, fold in the flour and baking powder. Add the lemon juice and zest and the milk a little at a time.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour, until the top is a deep burnished brown, and soft and spongy to the touch. It is done when a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.