DOWNTOWN DIALOGUE: The Place for Holiday Cheer

DOWNTOWN DIALOGUE:  The Place for Holiday Cheer

This is the time to appreciate what’s really important and tie it all up in a bow: family, friends and community. While we are at war and the economy is struggling, it’s hard to muster the gleeful abandon that Christmas lights and windows used to bring. And yet, It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are classics for a reason. There may be fewer packages and a little less champagne this year, but I am ready to celebrate.

That is, if I can figure out how to get all the baking, wrapping, packing, cooking, cleaning, folding and shopping done between now and Dec. 25—and still come up with enough jelly donuts and latkes for eight nights of Hanukah, which falls early this year.

Thank goodness Lower Manhattan is a little village, with everything we need for a fantastic holiday season in one square mile. Who needs Rockefeller Center? It feels so homey and festive to see a tree, hear a Messiah performance, ice skate, drink hot chocolate, grab an unexpected nightcap with friends, light a menorah and shop for everyone on my list right here in the neighborhood. That’s what the season should be all about.

What it shouldn’t be about is stress, but, if you’re like me, holiday shopping can be anxiety-producing. I never remember the good ideas I had in April. Nor do I have enough time to find just the right thing for everyone. No surprise, since I squeeze the shopping in between the office, the grocery store, school drop-off, basketball pick-up, the doctor and everything else. I start to envy my friends who make gift-giving a science, and my grandmother, who only gave cash (which she said was “always the right color”).

This year, however, will be different. The really smart folks in the Downtown Alliance’s Marketing Department have put together a series of one-hour Downtown shopping itineraries for people like us. At lunch time and before or after work, there are options for every budget, every list and every part of Lower Manhattan:

• Wall Street Luxury: From Tiffany at #37 to Thomas Pink and La Maison du Chocolat, both at #63, to Tumi and BMW at #67 and Hermés at 15 Broad St.
• Extraordinary Value: This loop includes J&R Music and Computer World at 23 Park Row, Century 21 at 22 Cortlandt, Samuel’s Hats at 72 Nassau, The Bag Shoppe at 63 Nassau and Men’s Wearhouse at 115 Broadway.
• By-the-Bull: Shop around Bowling Green Park at Daffy’s at 50 Broadway, Christopher Norman Chocolates at 60 New St., World of Golf at 74 Broad St. and California Wine Merchants at 15 Bridge St.
• Front Street Finds: Boutiques like AKO Store and Design Studio at 207a Front St., Firefly Children’s Boutique at 224 Front St., Provisions at 150 Beekman St. and Coach at 193 Front St.
• Connection Convenience: Stores along the expanded northern route of the Downtown Connection, the Downtown Alliance’s free bus service, include Babesta at 66 West Broadway, Mysterious Bookshop at 58 Warren St., Korin at 57 Warren St., and Bed, Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods, both at 270 Greenwich St.

I’m going to try all five, and take notes for next year!

— Liz Berger is President of the Downtown Alliance.
For more information about Lower Manhattan’s holiday events, restaurants and retailers, please go to our Web site at