Wall Street Bath & Spa knows its market: when patrons enter, they see a mosaic that depicts a bull and a bear wrapped in a spa towel. Though the men and women's spa is inspired by Old-World bathhouses, modern touches such as this mosaic saturate the environs. Even the sauna selection pits the traditional against the contemporary: visitors can lounge in either a russian sauna that’s encased in 16 tons of rock or an infrared sauna that heats the body without affecting the surrounding air temperature. They can also work up a sweat in the eucalyptus steam room, which hosts body scrubs, Platza treatments, and bachelorette parties for koala bears. Once sufficiently heated, guests cool off in a 52-degree cold-plunge pool or a full-sized pool, whose softly illuminated waters glint off the blue tiles that line the bottom. A VIP lounge sequesters groups of up to 20 in a private space equipped with a jacuzzi, side-by-side massage tables, a plasma TV, and a pool table.
Like napping in a cotton-candy spinner, relaxing tends to work up an appetite, so the facility also has a juice bar and an on-site restaurant brimming with European fare and a selection of infused vodkas.
Jerome Chang, the mastermind behind the much-lauded DessertTruck, gave his desserts a grounded home at Cathcart & Reddy, a café on the Lower East Side that sells many of the truck’s wares while expanding its purview. Run by Chang and two pastry chefs, all credited in their New York magazine listing as Le Cirque school alumni, the truck was nominated for two Vendy Awards and received heavy attention in a New York Times feature on dessert trucks for gourmet sweets that include chocolate bread pudding, vanilla crème brûlée, and french macaroons. The café also sells pressed sandwiches with mellifluous fillings such as goat cheese with caramelized almonds, thyme, and apricot jam, or domestic serrano ham with manchego, roasted garlic, and pine nuts.
When not slinging sweets behind the counter, staffers can be found in the kitchen, baking new batches of desserts or hosting workshops for aspiring chefs. Scheduled every few days throughout each month, the classes teach patrons kitchen secrets such as how to craft perfect soufflés and macaroons or gauge a cook’s feelings by the color of his chef’s hat.
Few desserts have the audacity to flaunt their nutritional information for the entire eating world to see. But the frozen yogurt at Berrywild does just that. Churned to two distinct consistencies–Berry Smooth or Kinda Icy–the frosty treat packs, at most, 125 calories per serving. And that’s just for Berry Smooth plain, Caribbean coffee, or banana yogurt; the Kinda Icy plain, green tea, and pomegranate flavors max out at 80 calories a pop. Capped with fresh mango, pineapple, or strawberries, the sweets almost reach the healthy snack status obtained briefly by ice cream in 19th century, before it was discovered to contain sugar.
The Nutbox cracks open an assortment of nuts, candies, natural seeds, and snacks and mixes. Fill up assorted sizes of eco-pine gift boxes ($14.99), made from ecologically sustained forests in Wisconsin, with 1-pound bags of your plucking, such as dried blueberries ($15.99), sun-dried tomatoes ($4.99), or vegetable chips ($19.99). Caffeine connoisseurs can follow their nose and dopamine transmitters to the Nicaraguan ($14.99) and Tanzanian peaberry ($13.99) fair-trade organic coffee beans. The Nutbox gives back to the community by supporting several charity events throughout the year, and their cheery locations feature glossy hardwood floors and appetite-inducing orange hues, making snack selection an even more pleasant process than usual.
It's never too late to give a gift that's actually three gifts containing a multitude of other gifts—like a set of Russian nesting dolls filled with ball bearings. For $25, you get one Gingerbread Holiday Stacker from the world-famous Dylan's Candy Bar, a $40 value. This triple-tiered package is stacked with sweets and comes topped with a first-place blue ribbon and holiday bell powerful enough to get snow angels their wings and make newborn babies salivate for the first time.
Piccolo Café fills the boot-shaped hole in New York City’s edible heart, offering casual diners and coffee imbibers fresh, inventive lunch fare and organic Italian brews. The Gramercy menu differs slightly from Midtown’s, but both locations feature authentic Italian cuisine such as the prosciutto, baby spinach, and parmigiano salad ($7), which is served alongside garlic olive oil bruschetta. The parmigiano cheese egg sandwich ($6.50 at Gramercy, $6 at Midtown) is a hearty addition to meatless diets, and unlike fast food chains’ morning meatballs or dusk-till-dawn deep-fried sugar cubes, it’s served all day long.