The Chocolate Addict’s Guide to New York City

You don’t know what’s good and what’s bad until you try something better. Our first visits to France and Italy many, many moons ago taught us this lesson in spades. If you grew up in many parts of America before the tidal influx of imported chocolates and the explosion of craft chocolatiers, the only chocolate you may have known was Hershey’s. And Hershey’s, as it turns out, barely qualifies as chocolate. That’s not an exaggeration. In the US, the minimum cocoa solids that are required to constitute a milk chocolate instead of a what is ambiguously referred to as a “confection” is 10%, and Hershey’s is camped out right on that line. By comparison, Canada requires 15% and Europe 35%. Don’t you feel cheated?

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A Local’s Guide for Friends and Family Visiting New York City

We’re constantly asked for recommendations when friends and family are planning a visit to New York City. And let’s face it, bloggers have this particularly awful habit of simply shooting off a bunch of links. The truth is, we know that even if you’ve popped in from time to time (thank you!), you may not want to go on a deep dive through our blog before a trip. There are also some obvious and amazing things to do in New York City that we’ve never featured on the blog. So we thought we’d put together a guide of some of our favorite things. These are the very same suggestions we provide our friends and family. (Usually in a long-form email, with about 4-6 addenda over the following days. Sorry, guys!)

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Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

The Mad Hatters NYC Blog: Year Three in Review

Throughout the year, the pervasive mood in the country has been dour, an ominous shadow hanging over virtually everything else. And yet, we still put ourselves out there, traveling more this year than we had in the last two combined, which was simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. But 2018 was a challenging year for us personally, too. We both work full-time and there were some notable changes to our jobs, which upended the comfortable life we’d built. We were plagued with some health challenges, though fortunately nothing too serious. We had some unfortunate luck, like discovering our toilet was leaking the day before we were due to leave for a trip. And finally, in a real gut-punch, we lost a few friends unexpectedly–a fellow blogger to a freak accident and a longtime co-worker to cancer.

As for the blog, it’s hard to believe it’s been three years since its inception. Some days it feels like the time has flown by, while others it feels like a slow, steady, relentless grind. At this point, we could forgive you for assuming the blog is humming along like a well-oiled machine. But that hasn’t been the case. The curve balls have kept coming, so let’s talk about what the year brought us.

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Unsilent Night in New York City

Unsilent Night, now in its 27th year, is the broadcast of composer Phil Kline’s electronic holiday composition in public by the public. Think of it as a modern take on caroling.

For the flagship New York City presentation of Unsilent Night, participants gather at the arch in Washington Square Park. Phil Kline loans out a few vintage boomboxes from his personal collection, and cassette tapes and CDs of the tracks are offered for those bringing their own. Of course, for those with a penchant for modern devices, Mp3 tracks can be downloaded in advance.

Once everything is organized, the procession sets off on an hour-long trek through the East Village. Each participant plays one of four distinct tracks simultaneously to create the layered, ambient score. The event concludes under the giant elm in Tompkins Square Park.

One of the best things about this event is that many participants opt to dress up. Sporting santa hats and reindeer antlers, draped in battery-powered holiday lights, or just wearing crazy hats–the mood is festive and the outfits match at this unique holiday event.

Unsilent night has also grown in popularity over the years. Versions of the event have been held in 124 cities and on 5 continents and counting.

If you are looking for general information, alternate locations and dates, or are interested in hosting your own Unsilent Night, you can find that here.

You can also read about our experience at 2017’s Unsilent Night here.

– L. & J.

Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

An Evening on the Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise in New York City

Once the holiday season officially kicks off, calendars fill up pretty quickly. It’s not just the holiday shopping and decorating, or all the cooking and baking. It’s the holiday parties, too. From office functions to dinner gatherings, it can sometimes feel like we’re caught in an endless loop of Nat King Cole, hors d’oeuvres and eggnog. But what if you moved the location of that soirée to a yacht, added a live band and some caroling, threw in some cocktails and brews, spiked that cocoa and served it with cookies, and for good measure, offered stunning nighttime views of the greatest city in the world?

Continue reading An Evening on the Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise in New York City

Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.