When I think about it, I am genuinely surprised at the number of items we ticked off last year, when I was visiting the Husband over Christmas. We spent just 4 days in NYC, but we did so much more than we got around doing this year. Most of the NYC-Holiday activities ticked off my list are from last year. One of our last year’s holiday specials was going ice skating. Central Park has a great rink, but the lines are just too long. A little bit of research showed me two alternatives – Rockefeller Centre and Bryant Park.
We went down to Rockfeller’s to check out the wonderfully lit tree, but passed on skating there as it was very expensive and packed. Another to-do on our list was to visit a holiday market. I had picked the one at Columbus Circle, but when I realized Bryant Park has one too there was a quick change of plans. We decided to combine the two and spend an evening at Bryant Park. A pleasant evening it was!
The holiday market was charming. I fell in love so many times over, in so many different stores, with so many cute/odd/quirky objects – only to take one look at their price tags and quickly put them down. On this account, it completely reminded me of the Kala Ghoda Art Festival each February in Bombay’s Art District. After taking in the market, we watched people skate and stumble on the ice, before venturing to do so ourselves. One of the reasons we picked Bryant Park for skating was also that the rink is free, but there is an entry fee for faster entry, skate rentals and locker costs, so it wasn’t really free. Also there is a looooong line to get the fast entry passes and then another line to enter, so its not like we didn’t have to wait.
Once on the ice, it was much harder than it would have otherwise been, because of all the people around. Many gliding along gracefully, other clutching the railing and taking awkward steps like us. I managed to go around the rink twice – without falling, before they shooed us off to clean the ice. I loved being there so much, I knew I had to learn ice skating. No wonder, my birthday gift this year was a private ice-skating lesson. I felt so much more confident after that lesson that I’ve signed up for a set of group lessons.
Once we decided we were done on the ice, we went and grabbed warm apple cider in the market. Bryant Park has a beautifully lit Christmas tree. The fountain in the front adds to the magic of the market. The happy voices, tinkling of the fountain, twinkling lights, the cold air and the aroma of Christmas delicacies wafting through it, it was enchanting. An evening or an afternoon at Bryant Park is a great way to experience the holiday spirit in NYC.