Sunday, December 7, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday we went to the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park (open from Nov 22 to Dec 28). These 120+ shops from around the world were housed in temporary, small glass stores and thankfully they all had heating lamps, because it was FREEZING this weekend. Frozen toes, fingers, and lips were worth this view:

We also wanted to go ice skating at Bryant Park's The Pond, the park's winter wonderland centerpiece. But it was massively crowded (its New York's only free admission seasonal ice skating rink, although you still have to pay to rent skates if you don't have your own).

There's even a view of the Empire State Building in the distance.

We really wanted to get on the ice but The Pond's line was ridiculous - probably about a two-hour (or more) wait in the biting cold. This photo only shows half of the line. Hopefully we'll get to go before The Pond closes for the season on January 25, 2009.

How great would it be to have the ice rink to ourselves. If we dared to be mischievous souls and skated while the ice was being cleaned.

Bryant Park even set up a temporary lounge/bar right next to the ice skating rink for the winter season. Celsius: A Canadian Lounge, housed in a temporary glass structure, overlooks The Pond and offers drinks, lunch, and dinner. The decor of the upstairs part of Celsius, which even has chandeliers, makes it look like a swanky night club. We probably should have taken the photo from the other side that shows the full-service bar and the second floor area (again, just weird because this is something that probably will get torn down by February). This is their outdoor terrace, with heating lamps dispersed throughout.

And did we mention how freakin clean Bryant Park is? Even their public restroom is clean, which is far from the case in almost all park restrooms. There was an usher handling the flow of traffic in the women's room by using a velvet rope at the entrance, like she was a bouncer at a nightclub. The most impressive thing was their toilet seat covers - you don't have to mess around with those annoying thin toilet seat covers that don't do crap to absorb the wet splashies on the toilet seat. At this restroom you just push a button and the toilet seat covers itself with a new hard plastic seat cover. Very appreciative of inventions that improve sanitation. More importantly, just easily amused.