5 Recommendations for a Unique Valentine’s Day

February 14th is coming, and all the lovebirds anxiously await. However, single people should not be left out, especially those in New York City. What makes this Valentine's Day more special is that it immediately precedes President's Day, leaving you with a long weekend full of various activities. Heart-shaped chocolate and restaurants are nice, but why not try some new things? No matter what your relationship status is, check out the below recipe for a legendary Valentine's Day experience

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Best Shops in NYC to Buy Valentine’s Day Chocolate

The romance, kisses and champagne are all very nice, but for me the best part about Valentine's Day is that it gives you an ironclad excuse to give, and receive, large amounts of excellent chocolate. Lucky for us, NYC has so many spots making great chocolate in different styles, sizes, and flavors appropriate for friends, office buddies, lovers, children, and anyone else that you might want to buy chocolate for. Here then, a look at some of the best places to make your sweet-toothed sweetie happy this Valentine's Day!

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Warm Up With NYC’s Best Hot Chocolate

nyc-best-hot-chocolate-jacques-torres-uwsWow, yup, it finally really feels like winter here in the city, especially now that the piles of blizzard-dumped snow are turning crusty and black, the corners made treacherous with slush lagoons. One more deep freeze and we'll have black ice on the sidewalks as well, just to complete the NYC wintertime trifecta. Anyway, there are plenty of great ways to feel warm and cozy even during the bleakest days of late January and February (alcohol, fireplaces, snuggling, Netflix), but one of my preferred tactics every year has to be sucking down a large, thick, rich cup of hot chocolate from one of our great city's great, uh, hot chocolate spots. There are too many to mention here, but these five that are guaranteed to make you happy.

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Day and Weekend Ski and Snowboard Trips NYC

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People at a ski resort on a weekend ski and snowboard trip from NYC

New York City: secret skier's paradise? Well… we wouldn't go that far, but did you know that New York has more ski areas than other state in America, 44, at last count? (Yes, that's more than California, or Colorado). And Southern Vermont has another dozen or so, all within easy weekend ski trip distance from NYC.

So if you are looking to take a nice romantic weekend getaway or are interested in a wonderful winter day trip from NYC to points north and snowy… albeit often machine-made these ski ideas are some of most reliably-excellent excursions, embarking from all over town, to a variety of mountains, with varying degrees of amenities and add-ons. 

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Welcome To The House of Yes – Brooklyn’s Grand New Event Space

queen-falalafel-houe-of-yes-bushwick-stageThe number of covert, DIY, semi-legal, music and performance venues in the once-rugged Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick have dwindled to close to zero. But as any New Yorker knows (and embraces!), change is really the only constant in this town, so even while we can quietly mourn the loss of favorite spots that gave us magical nights in a different era, we can also, at the same time, go out and have a blast, and see something new and extraordinary, at a place that has just opened its doors for the first time. For example: the brand-new House of Yes in Bushwick, the latest and certainly most grand (and most legal!) home for the long-running performance collective. And there's even a first-rate falafel stand right on site! Here's everything you need to know…        

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The Pennsy Brings Excellent Eats To Penn Station

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The worst part about Penn Station is Penn Station. Seriously, I reversed-commuted for a year on the LIRR, and it almost finished me. The second worse thing? Terrible food options in the immediate area, whether grabbing a bite before a game or concert at Madison Square Garden, or heading out to Long Island or New Jersey. Or maybe you work right nearby? Because unlike Grand Central, which has majorly improved its dining game over the past decade or so (from the total renovation of the lower level to the Shake Shack's arrival in 2013 to the recently-opened UrbanSpace Vanderbilt right across the street), dreary old Penn hasn't seen anything exciting come it's way in a long, long time. Until now. Until The Pennsy.

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Six Wonderful Winter Day Trips From NYC

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There's pretty much never a day where we can't find something exciting / relaxing / enlightening / delicious to do right here at home in the greatest city on the planet BUT, that said, I suppose there are times when it's fun to go a road trip. Even (especially?), during the dark, suddenly-appropriately freezing days of winter. So if you're feeling ambitious enough to rouse yourself from whatever level of hibernation you had planned for the next two months, here are five suggestions that seem sure to make your effort worthwhile.

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Winter At The Whitney: Two Excellent Reasons To Visit

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Have I mentioned yet how much I love the new downtown Whitney Museum? Yes, it still qualifies as new in museum-years, having only opened last spring and, yes, if you've spent any time with me since then, and the subject of conversation has turned toward our great city's cultural institutions, I have certainly turned alarmingly excited about what a great job they did here. I could–and often do–go on and on, but the key victory for the architects and designers here is the museum's ability to absorb an enormous number of people without feeling crowded, always allowing letting the art itself to be the star. This is no small feat–have you been to MoMA in the past few years?–and the genius move I think was putting those tiered terraces with their lovely views out over the High Line, the Meatpacking District, and Lower Manhattan (and Jersey City across the harbor). Museum guests tend to travel between the exhibition floors via these interconnected outdoor spaces, pausing and resting their art-filled eyes with the city views. For one thing, it's a very pleasant place to be, the terraces. For another, it eases crowding in the galleries. Anyway, in addition to the stellar Frank Stella show going on there now, two other exhibitions (one of which ends on January 17) are well worth another Whitney trip.

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Excellent Sandwiches and Pastries At High Street on Hudson

high-street-on-hudson-duck-meatballBeloved favorites in other cities–Philadelphia, Portland, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC… you know the type–often don't translate terribly well when they move here to the big town. Suddenly those "crazy" sandwiches seem pretty ho-hum, those "amazing" cupcakes kind of dime-a-dozen. That's not necessarily a knock on the imports, it's just that we have so much of everything here, and so much of it so good, that's it's difficult to make an impact. Thankfully, many of these hometown-lauded transplants are actually worth the hype, and bring new energy and delicious creations to stale genres or failed spaces. Firmly in the latter category: the excellent new High Street on Hudson, a spin-off of Philly hotspot High Street on Market and currently slinging amazing sandwiches and first-rate baked goods on the West Village-Meatpacking District border.  

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Four Wild & Crazy NYC Events To Kick Off 2016

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You might think that the big, fun public events ease up once the city's manic holiday season is over, but nah. Not only does the city never sleep, it also doesn't tire of hosting random, joyful explosions of crazy behavior that you can either participate in, spectate from a safe distance, or–and this is what really makes the city great–completely ignore and go about your day, your life being not even a little bit affected by other people having fun. So here's hoping your 2016 starts out exactly the way you want it to… and if what you want is to snowboard in Central Park, take off your pants on the 6 train, or tear through the streets of Brooklyn in a shopping cart well, we've got you covered here.

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