Bryant Park's Winter Village Reopens for Winter 2020 This Weekend
Sharpen your skates and start searching through your winter gear for a matching pair of mittens: New York City's only FREE ice skating rink is set to debut this week, along with the rest of the fun at the Bank of America Winter Village in Bryant Park.
The grand opening is set for this Friday, October 30, and we've got all the details on the changes in place to ensure this popular wintertime playground stays safe in the age of coronavirus.
Bryant Park's popular FREE ice rink, pictured here in a past season, reopens Friday, October 30, 2020.
Good news: If you have your own skates, The Rink maintains its status as New York City's only FREE ice skating rink. It's also the first ice skating venue to open this season.
In a change from season's past, skating sessions must be booked online in advance to limit the number of visitors on the ice at any given time.
All skaters must wear face masks for the duration of their visit, and the entire experience is outdoors. Gone is the indoor locker room; instead, skaters are provided a “shoe bag,” a small drawstring-style backpack, to wear while you skate, so travel lightly. Shoe bags are provided with skate rentals. You can purchase one if you're bringing your own skates or bring one from home. A bag check is provided for larger items or anything that won't fit inside your shoe bag.
To ensure the maximum number of visitors have a chance to skate, sessions are limited to 75-minutes apiece, except for the 8am session, which lasts 90 minutes. Reservations are released throughout the season. In addition to limiting attendance and requiring masks, The Rink is instituting increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces throughout the day.
Regular visitors to Bryant Park's seasonal shops know the stores are closely packed as above, but changes to the layout in 2020 allow more space for social distancing.
The open-air market returns to Bryant Park, though some key changes have been made to ensure a safe shopping experience. The number of stores has been reduced and the overall layout reconfigured to allow for more spacious walkways. Retailers must provide hand sanitizer and contactless payment options. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the handwashing stations set up throughout the park.
When you visit, be sure to check out the Small Business Spotlight, which provides local small businesses a rent-free space to showcase their products.
The Lodge Deck
This rinkside eatery offers plenty of eats and treats for visitors of all ages. A completely open-air dining experience this season, grab a table to enjoy an after-skate or post-shopping treat. Adults can order cozy cocktails, while kids can chow down on super sweet s'mores.
Bryant Park's Bank of America Winter Village runs from Friday, October 30, through Monday, March 7, 2021. The Holiday Shops close on Monday, January 3. Hours vary by attraction.
Photos courtesy of Bank of America's Winter Village at Bryant Park