November 2016—January 2017: The Holiday Issue

Reading these stories makes me feel more connected to my chosen home, which no matter where I live, is as much as I can hope for.

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Despite being a nonnative New Yorker who has spent few holidays here, the city’s always been the main backdrop for my family’s celebrations. This is as unintentional as it is unavoidable since, let’s be real, it’s nearly impossible this time of year to dodge the global center of commercialism.

My siblings and I have hallowed traditions of begrudging Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade attendees, imitating the New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker choreography and pausing our annual Mel Brooks movie marathon to watch the ball drop. I still believe in a certain Home Alone 2-inspired version of the city, but actually living here, combined with the privilege of editing this publication, has immersed me in a vastly different, equally rousing and much more real New York.

This issue is no exception (read it all here) and begins with a party playlist of songs selected by some of the city’s best general managers who are ambience wizards by definition. Our gift guide follows with food- and drink-related items made nearby and includes everything from custom-made bike racks to a reusable version of that iconic “We Are Happy to Serve You” coffee cup.

Also for the table, our all-things-apple writer Sabine Hrechdakian makes the case for New York State’s exceptional Champagne-style ciders that are a worthy replacement for your traditional bubbly. I also shed a light on the possible origins of your holiday turkey by chronicling the trials and tribulations of a local farmer during the Thanksgiving season (it’d be a real shame to miss this story’s epic color-your-own illustrations by Maëlle Doliveux).

Reading these stories makes me feel more connected to my chosen home, which no matter where I live, is as much as I can hope for.

Our editor in chief Brian Halweil highlights a new way to connect us New Yorkers with his rundown of an app that delivers home-cooked meals made by your neighbors. Our digital strategist Bridget Shirvell also spotlights a tech-empowered service that arranges pickups for perfectly good leftovers and redistributes them to locals in need. Meanwhile the astute Rachel Nuwer sticks to old-school New York dining by thinking practically about what it’s taken for some of the city’s iconic restaurants to survive in this notoriously trying market.

Several of our stories also examine this city’s tradition of making the old new again. The unfailing Regina Schrambling conjures the ghost of pies past by exploring the history and revival of the mostly forgotten Nesselrode, aka the city’s “Cronut of 1946” while our own Alicia Kennedy considers a vegan take on the Puerto Rican–style pasteles of her youth. Daniel Scheffler also charms with a description of a new bakery inside a landmarked Greenwich Village brownstone, and Brooklyn restaurateur Andrew Tarlow and Anna Dunn honor festive New Year’s traditions with a recipe from their much-anticipated first cookbook.

These stories seem particularly meaningful to me this year as I prepare to spend my first Thanksgiving in New York. Reading them makes me feel more connected to my chosen home, which no matter where I live, is as much as I can hope for. I won’t be critiquing parade floats with my sisters and brothers in a few weeks, but I do plan on getting myself a slice of Nesselrode pie and heading to the Upper West Side the night before to watch the balloons being inflated. I’ve heard that’s what real New Yorkers do anyway.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours,

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Ariel Lauren Wilson

Lauren grew up on her family's farm in the North Carolina mountains. She now lives in New York and is the editor of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn.