New York

How to Host a Very New York Friendsgiving

Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist
Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist
Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

New York City: the “fifth character” in your four-person friend group, for those of us lucky enough to live here. Friendsgiving is an established NYC tradition, thanks to rising flight prices and kitchens too small to host our real families. But that’s not to say Friendsgiving is a second-best holiday. This year, we’re seeing it as a chance to celebrate the weirdos we love here and, yes, sigh, our “chosen families.” With that in mind, we’ve put together some ways to celebrate the city we love while enjoying the harvest season with our friends: good food, perfect-weather walks around the neighborhood, and maybe a glass of Basil Hayden Bourbon with friends. Read on for more tips on hosting a very New York Friendsgiving:

Raid the bodega

There’s nothing that says you can’t host a Friendsgiving with chopped cheese for all, but there are some easy ways to class up your event using just the groceries at the corner store. Most bodegas have fresh fruits available, so grabbing bananas for banana bread or apples and oranges for tarts and fruit salads is a simple upgrade. Add some variety to your bar with mixers like juices and seltzers, and check out what cookies and snacks can be elevated into a new dessert recipe. Don’t forget garnishes: bodegas excel in the “cans and jars” category, so keep an eye out for cocktail onions, olives, and maraschino cherries.

Celebrate all five boroughs

Manhattanites (and Brooklynites!) can definitely be insulated when it comes to appreciating all that New York has to offer. So this Friendsgiving, make an effort to include all five boroughs in your feast. That may mean inviting someone from every part of NYC (be inclusive: New Jersey and Long Island count as well), or serving up classics from different parts of town. If you can get dumplings from Flushing, zeppolis from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and pizza from Staten Island, you’ve got yourself a real New York feast.

Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist
Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist
Rebecca Hoskins/Thrillist

Stock the bar with New York-y cocktails

Friendsgiving is what you might call an “experimental” holiday, so it opens up plenty of opportunities for sophistication where you want it and flexibility where you don’t. The must have on-hand is Basil Hayden, perfect for all the NYC classics (The Manhattan, The New York Sour, etc.) as well as some others. The classy move is to greet guests with an aperitif like a Boulevardier to kick the night off on the right note. From there, get whimsical with your cocktail ideas and see if you can create a few of your own, too.

Make use of the city parks

One of the biggest perks of living in NYC is the parks: did you know the city hosts more than 28,000 acres of park land? This Friendsgiving, enjoy the last of the nice weather by making use of those green spaces. The Thanksgiving expanded universe wouldn’t be complete without some football, so host a pre-dinner game to build up an appetite, or work off some of the calories with an after-dinner walk around your local park. Alternatively, if it’s nice enough out, change up your plans with a Friendsgiving picnic – it’ll require some coordination to get all the dishes, place settings, and drinks outdoors, but enjoying the fall colors with dinner will be well worth it.

Don’t stick to the same old menu options

Remember, this is Friendsgiving, not Thanksgiving. Save the stuffy classics (including, literally, stuffing) for the family gathering you’re less-than-jazzed about. If you like turkey, feel free to spend the hours needed to prep it, but if not, don’t feel obligated. Instead, rely on New York’s greatest strength: multiculturalism. If you’ve got any international guests, have them bring a traditional fall dish from their home country. Crack open an under-used cookbook (ideally one that focuses on non-American foods) and try your hand at a new recipe. If it’s an amazing addition to the meal, it might just graduate to Thanksgiving favorite. And if it’s less than stellar, your friends will tell you the honest truth.

Embrace your neighbors

Thanksgiving is a time to make friends, meet those around you, and share the love. New York, especially, has a high number of transplants that can’t make it back to their hometown for Thanksgiving, so inviting them to your gathering is a great way to expand your circle. The more truly is the merrier. Another group you should consider connecting with: your neighbors. Rather than just saying hi in the mailroom or the staircases of your building, offer them an invite to stop by for some Friendsgiving dishes and cocktails. If your favorite sitcom characters befriended those across-the-hall strangers, you can too.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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