Just because New York hasn’t seen much snow this year doesn’t mean we’re not deep in the middle of winter. Now, more than ever, we need the tropics. Here’s where to find the heat without leaving the city. By Jessica Allen.
The New York Botanical Garden’s Tropical Paradise showcases “warm-weather flora” in an indoor rainforest, part of the Victorian-style glasshouse, a NYC landmark. The colors are bold and bright, the temperature a balmy 70 or so degrees Fahrenheit. Starting on March 2, the annual Orchid Show comes into bloom, featuring those crazy-delicate-gorgeous flowers.
Practically next door to Yankee Stadium, this Jamaican restaurant in the Bronx is something of an institution. Eric Asimov reviewed it for the New York Times way back in 2000. Anthony Bourdain visited it in 2009. And we’re including it on this list for its jerk chicken, moist and spicy, filling and satisfying, bursting with allspice and thyme, scratching an itch you never knew you had.
The ginormous fitness emporium that is Chelsea Piers boasts New York City’s only year-round, indoor sand volleyball court. You can take an advanced or intermediate, all-male, all-female, or co-ed class, cross-train, or join a pick-up game; check the schedule for details. If no one’s looking, you just might be able lay down on a towel and pretend you’re at the beach.
The Islands may not look like much—a cramped ground-floor kitchen, a metal staircase so steep you climb it with your hands, and a dark, dingy second-floor dining room populated by six tables and some flea-market paintings—but the smells of Caribbean specialties like curry shrimp (pictured) wafting onto Washington Avenue makes you indifferent to appearances. Go in and dig in.
This tiki bar brings the beach to a landlocked stretch of Brooklyn. There are couches in the back, actual bamboo and Polynesian masks on the wall, and umbrellas in many of the drinks. Try the tiki torch shot, a specialty of the house, with rum, sugar, lemon, mini marshmallows as a chaser, and fire. Yes, fire—bartenders ignite the shot and the surrounding bar for a fun, tropical effect that only looks dangerous.