Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve and Day in NYC

Ah, New Year’s. A time where many celebrate (or mourn) what has transpired over the last year and revel (hopefully) in anticipation of what’s to come. In a city that goes balls to the wall for the holiday (literally), with millions of people tuning in to watch Times Square become a giant confetti bomb and thousands of restaurants and bars putting on their party hats and offering up prix fixe menus galore, it may be daunting to figure out just where you should spend the evening.

From classic French dishes to celebrating luau-style high above the masses in Times Square, here’s where to head this New Year’s Eve and wipe that slate clean.

La Mercerie. (Photo by Robert Wright.)

La Mercerie
Chef Marie-Aude Rose (the other half to Le Coucou’s Daniel Rose) is hosting two seatings at her restaurant inside Roman and Williams Guild in SoHo. Diners can choose between two seatings; the first, held at 5:30 p.m., includes five courses for $120 per person while the second, at 8:00 p.m., features six for $160. Both menus see dishes like consommé and foie gras with corn galette; artichoke and truffle agnolotti; and duck breast with sauce Bigarade and savoy cabbage. At the end of the meal, each guest will receive sablé cookies and chocolate truffles to-go. 

The Polynesian
Skip the masses in Times Square (you can’t even use the bathroom—let alone have a cocktail) and live the tiki life at Major Food Group’s (still) wildly-popular bar, The Polynesian. For $125 per person, be a part of a luau featuring cocktails slung by “captain” Brian Miller while noshing on passed hors d’oeuvres like coconut shrimp and crab rangoon. A pig roast, live hula dancing and a Champagne toast at midnight are also on deck.

At Marco Canora’s beloved old guard, the “kitchen is still all about delicious Italian, yes, but now the ingredients are more carefully sourced, on the healthy side and with a deep commitment to GMO-free grains, less butter and no processed oils,” say MICHELIN Guide inspectors. A four-course family-style menu (priced at $98 per person) is on offer; pick your poison of shrimp escabeche with celery and citrus, winter squash risotto with brown butter and sage, beef and ricotta meatballs with house-milled polenta, smoked chicken breast with sunchoke and escarole, and chocolate olive oil cake for dessert. 

“Sauvage means 'wild and natural' in French, and that’s a perfectly apt description for this handsome restaurant with a thoughtful list of naturalist wines,” state Michelin inspectors of this Williamsburg favorite. Two seatings will be held on New Year’s Eve, beginning at 5:00 p.m. ($68 per person) and 9:00 p.m. ($110 per person, including a sparkling wine and extra course). Feast upon dishes like raw diver scallop with brown butter, black truffle and almond; beef tartare with matsutake, sunflower seeds and sprouts; steelhead trout with horseradish buttermilk, cucumber, turnips and dill; and roast duck breast with pickled cranberries, hakurei turnips and blood orange. Meandering through the neighborhood? Walk-ins are welcome at the bar for drinks.

Dirt Candy
On New Year’s Day, head to the Lower East Side and wash away your hangover at Amanda Cohen’s mainstay, where an all-day brunch will be had from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Breakfast dishes include a “Canadian cracker” (waffle with two fried eggs, layer of melted cheddar and roasted tomatoes) and tempura-poached green eggs served on green tortillas with salsa verde and queso fresco. Menu specials for 2019’s kickoff will also be had, including something that “just has to be cleared with legal first.” (Stay tuned for details.) 

Have the vantage point on 2019 by celebrating New Year’s Eve 60 floors above Manhattan at Danny Meyer’s posh Manhatta in the Financial District. A five-course menu will be offered during two seatings at 5:00 and 7:30 p.m., priced at $165 and $225, respectively. (A Champagne toast is included in the latter.)

Boathouse Central Park
“If you want to swap the chaos of the city and its cacophony of car horns for a couple of tranquil hours, then here’s where to come,” state inspectors of this New York City landmark that dates back to 1954. Enjoy the glory of the city’s “backyard” and indulge in jumbo lump crab cakes; hand-cut steak tartare with English mustard, black radish, hard-cooked egg and capers; seared sea scallops with lobster mashed potatoes, Bloomsdale spinach and orange shellfish sauce; red-wine braised lamb shank with baby root vegetables, polenta cake and maple-mustard glaze; and white chocolate panna cotta with tropical fruit for dessert.

Hero image by Peter Garritano.

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