Citi Pond Activities at Bryant Park
In the last weeks of October, a lot of changes happen at Bryant Park. The lawn becomes a huge construction area, filled with noise and activity. However, the citizens of New York might, nor do they miss their usual lawn lounging. The construction usually means the arrival of one of the biggest things park goers look forward to during the winter time – Citi Pond at Bryant Park.
During the recession, with so many people losing their jobs and businesses closing down, it seemed like it will be a bleak Christmas for New Yorkers. In an effort to keep the yuletide spirit alive, Citigroup’s interagency team created Citi Pond.
Citi pond is a man-made skating rink that spans 170’ by 100’. Known as “”Winter Wonderland in the Heart of Manhattan”, it is New York’s only free ice skating rink. The ice skating rink is part of the Winter Village, and you can usually catch its unique repertoire of activities from October to March.
Citi Pond’s main activity is, of course, ice skating. When Citi pond was first started, the premise was that they brought the ice skating rink, you bring the shoes. Nowadays, it is not just a skating rink for people who have an extra pair of skating shoes at home. The pond now offers high quality ice skate rentals at discounted prices. Skating shoes usually go for $20 a pair, while skate aids go for $20 per hour. If you’re stopping by the ice skating rink directly after work or school, you can keep your valuables in designated lockers. Locks are available for $10 each.
Most pond visitors are there for fun, but some are there to try their hand out at ice skating as a hobby or sport. Ice skating lessons are available at the pond, provided by reputable third-party companies or coaches like coach Cory or the Citi coaching sessions. Ice skating lessons are offered in either individual or group categories, and prices will depend on the provider of the service. Skating shows are a regular attraction offered by various groups and organizations.
The Polar Lounge
If you want to spend your special day by the skating rink, you could rent out the Polar Lounge for the day. The Polar Lounge is an events venue that specializes in children’s birthday parties. They have special packages for birthday parties and well as other small gatherings.
Skating can make anyone hungry, and if your stomach is grumbling, you should head on over to the Celsius. They serve only the most memorable of Canadian comfort food. Here you can grab a nice serving of mac and cheese with real Canadian bacon, and cheese gratins. They also serve cocktails for the older crowd. If the weather is a bit too chilly for you, you can relax at any of the warm couches at the Celsius, surrounded by heat lamps.
Aside from the skating rink, over 125 stalls are constructed together with the winter village. Almost every alley and terrace in Bryant Park is filled with these stalls. You can everything from jewelry to food, from toys to souvenirs. The park itself has a shop that sells greeting cards and other novelty items. Profits of the shop go towards the park maintenance fund.
Drink some nice hot chocolate and munch on some cookies while you warm up for your skating session. The skating pavilion has a snack bar right in the midst of it for hungry skaters who want to take a breather or take shelter from the cold. At the northeast corner of the rink lies the Public fare with even more eateries so you don’t skate with an empty stomach.
Every year, the park adds new side attractions to make the experience more complete for skaters. In 2003, they introduced the Ice Pix booth, a photo booth where you and your friends can take pictures to commemorate your time on the rink. Each picture sheet contains for pictures and costs $5 for each sheet. In the same year, they added the Citi Snow Globe. Park goers can receive a memorable video of them while inside a life size snow globe.
If you’re the type who gets worn out fast, you can still stick around and enjoy the winter film festival by the rink. A huge movie screen overlooks the skating rink so you can watch the movie while you’re skating, or while sitting on one of the many chairs and tables strewn around the area. Bring a blanket and have some nice hot chocolate while watching any of the four films they feature during the festival.
The park adds new attractions each year, so who knows what’s in store for New Yorkers this time around?