DCSIMG

20 ...cool things to do in New York this Christmas

STAY

1 Midtown's Hotel Mela is a sophisticated newcomer in the theatre district. Inside, its artwork pays homage to New York past and present (120 West 44th St, 001 877 452 6352, www.hotelmela.com doubles from $249 (127)).

2 Check out the art (and the hype) at Ian Schrager's latest outpost, the Julian Schnabel-designed Gramercy Park hotel. Intriguingly described as "eclectic bohemian" (2 Lexington Ave, 001 212 920 3300, www.gramercyparkhotel.com; doubles from $495 (252)).

EAT

3 Indulge your sweet tooth at the city's new pudding-only diner, Room 4 Dessert (17 Cleveland Place, 001 212 941 5405).

4 The Modern at MoMa is two restaurants in one: a formal dining room and a buzzing bar area which is popular at lunch. The views of the museum's sculpture garden are almost as impressive as Gabriel Kreuther's French-American food (9 West 53rd St, 001 212 333 1220, www.themodernnyc.com .

5 Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's new restaurant, the Waverly Inn, is so low-key it doesn't have a phone number - the only way in is by invite, so phone Mr Carter himself, or try your luck by walking in to the Bank Street venue without a reservation (16 Bank St).

6 Gordon Ramsay and Joel Robuchon have both opened in the Big Apple, and with prices less than half what they are in London ( la carte at Gordon Ramsay is $85 (43), and only $45 (23) at lunch), New York is the canny foodie's choice (Gordon Ramsay, 151 West 54th St, 001 212 468 8888, www.gordonramsay.com L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 57 East 57th St, 001 212 350 6658, www.robuchon.com .

DRINK

7 Squeeze into the Monday Room, a tiny lounge bar which opened just last week, which seats just 24 people and offers more than 60 wines by the glass (210 Elizabeth St, 001 212 343 7011).

8 Search out Back Room, rumoured to be owned by Hollywood actor Tim Robbins and hidden behind the facade of a toy shop. Drinks are served in teacups, and a sliding bookcase reveals a second bar (102 Norfolk St, 001 212 228 5098).

9 Sip a seasonal cocktail, such as the Pumpkin Pie Martini, $17 (8.64), at the Mandarin Oriental's Lobby Lounge, 35 storeys up (80 Columbus Circle, 001 212 805 8876).

10 The punk spirit of now-defunct club CBGBs lives on at the newly glammed-up R Bar - blaring music, photos of Debbie Harry and a sleazy vibe aided by strippers' poles (218 Bowery, 001 212 334 0484, www.rbarnyc.com .

CLUB

11 Dance at Cielo, Tenjune and Buddha Bar - Little West 12th Street is the hippest clubbing block in the ever-cool Meatpacking District ( www.meatpacking-district.com .

12 Forget the queues and posturing of Bungalow 8 and make a beeline for Bette. The latest venture by Amy Sacco is every bit as chic, but manages to avoid the pretensions of her original venue (461 West 23rd Street, 001 212 366 0404).

SHOP

13 Menswear doesn't get much more stylish than Cloak in SoHo, whose designer Alexandre Plokhov has been touted as a potential head designer for cool fashion label Helmut Lang. The coats and jackets are his signature item: think Paul Smith, but hotter (10 Greene St, 001 212 625 2828, www.cloakdesign.com .

14 Shop for cool Christmas gifts at Annie O, a music-themed boutique with everything from Swissco toothbrushes to vintage Rolex watches. Annie is a former music publicist for rock star Lou Reed, and her glass-box store stays open until midnight (105 Rivington St, 001 212 475 3490).

15 This season's must-have fad to be seen in Central Park is Flybarring. Essentially a pogo stick reinvented for the Noughties, the Flybar 800 ($349 - 177.50 - www.flybar.com has already made its way to NY's hip Crunch gym classes.

16 Helena Christensen's West Village shop, Butik, presents antiques and bric-a-brac found by the model-turned-photographer on her travels (605 Hudson St, 001 212 367 8014

17 Hum, or strum, your way around Bob Dylan's American Journey 1956-1966, the first major exhibition of his early career, including handwritten lyrics and rare photos, at The Morgan Library and Museum, which has reopened in a larger Midtown space (until 6 January, 225 Madison Ave, 001 212 685 0008, www.themorgan.org .

18 Don't miss The Vertical Hour, which opened last week Broadway, starring Bill Nighy and Julianne Moore, directed by Sam Mendes (Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th St, newyorkcitytheatre.com).

19 Book now for Nan Kempner: American Chic at the Metropolitan Museum. Opening on 11 December, the exhibition focuses on the late New York style icon's collection of couture from designers such as Yves Saint Laurent (1000 Fifth Ave, 001 212 535 7710, www.metmuseum.org .

20 Taking to the ice rinks in Central Park or the Rockefeller Center, above, is still, literally, one of the coolest things you can do in New York at Christmas.

 
 
 

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