The holiday rush is over, but if the spirit still moves you, there’s a little time left to take advantage of free ice skating and post-holiday deals at Winter Village at Bryant Park.
While the Rink at Rockefeller Center may be one of the most iconic destinations to head for winter ice skating, it is small and brimming over with tourists much of the time. Trying to skate there between Christmas and New Year’s meant a wait time of just under two hours, and that didn’t guarantee a full session once on the ice.
But head downtown to the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, to enjoy the sensation of lightness on your feet as you glide across the ice, as well as a lighter burden on your wallet–because if you bring your own skates, the sessions are free. The rink is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and stays open until March 1st, 2015. If you don’t have skates, you will need to shell out $15. If you can remember to bring a small lock, small lockers are also free, or $8 if you need to check larger items.
The Winter Village is situated behind the beautiful main branch of the New York Public Library–worth a visit in its own right, and also free.
More to do Rinkside
Off the rink (but at rink-side), children and adults can learn various forms of juggling and balance tricks taught by performers who love the craft.
The market at the Winter Village boasts more than 125 shops. And while there are plenty of holiday markets in the city, this market actually has a number of shops and eateries that are different than those you can seemingly find at all the others.
Snacks and Meals
Celsius is a restaurant, bar and lounge overlooking the rink. And food booths with fare both locally sourced and internationally influenced have a wide range of choices, from fried pickles (of New York’s spiciest variety), to strudels and pies, “rolling pretzels” and vegan soups. There are plenty of samples to be tasted from the vendors as well.
Last Minute Deals
The shops include plenty of what you’d expect, but also silly puppets, antique prints and maps, spice traders, fair trade chocolate, reclaimed vinyl records made into just about everything and a “Snooze Shack,” where the vendors are decked out in full-sized footsie pajamas. Many of the vendors offer products with an international flair, sweaters from Ireland, Himalayan art wear, Russian dolls, and Brazilian natural beauty products. It’s possible to find objects for just a few dollars, or easily drop plenty more. But, as post-holiday sales are in full swing, smart shoppers will get there fast before they close down.
If you want to give back, New York Cares has set up a donation bin here for you to drop off winter coats for New Yorkers in need.
Once you’re finished skating and shopping, be sure to take a family photo in front of the fountain in the park center–with the rink and the library acting as the instant backdrop and a lovely memory.