Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to be a Savvy Skater

One of the best parts about Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is that it's the only free public ice skating rink in the whole city! You can skate for hours at The Rink without ever taking your wallet out of your pocket. For those of you who want to take full advantage of just how free this rink really is, we've provided some useful tips and tricks to make sure your trip is as free as can be.

Tip #1: Bring your own skates
Although admission to The Rink is completely free, we do charge a small fee for skate rentals. If you'd like to avoid this fee, bring your own skates and skate completely free of charge! We won't ask admission fee and your skating time is completely unlimited - we won't kick you off the rink (unless we need to resurface it or it's closing time).

Many people show off their customized skates that they brought from home
Tip #2: Bring your helmet from home
We recommend that our skaters, particularly the younger among us, wear helmets to protect themselves on the ice. Although we do offer helmet rentals for $6, bring your helmet from home (a regular old bike helmet will do!) to keep the penny pinching going.

Tip #3: Leave your bag at home or bring a lock
As a safety precaution for all our skaters, we do not allow bags of any size on the ice. If you want to avoid paying the fee for our bag check service, we recommend that utilize our lockers, which are provided free of charge. To stay cost savvy during your trip, bring your own lock to avoid paying the small fee for a lock rental.

Tip #4: Check out Ice Bites
Once you work up an appetite skating and walking around the Holiday Shops, step inside and warm up in the Skating Pavilion for some snacks and treats at Ice Bites. This food option is perfect if you want to grab a quick bite to eat and only spend a few bucks. Or, bring your own from home.

Tip #5: Buy a Season Pass 
If you're someone who knows you'll be skating often, the Season Pass is a perfect way to save some time and money while still taking advantage of all Winter Village has to offer. If you don't own your own skates but are wary of paying for skate rentals each time you visit, the Season Pass (for the full season or the half season) gives you a discount on skate rentals, VIP access to the rink, and a free lock to use for the season.

The Rink
Daily, 8am - 10pm
#WinterVillage

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shop the Season: Pickles for Everyone

Stephen from our executive office conducts his annual review of Pickle Me Pete, his favorite Holiday Shop at Bank of America Winter Village

It’s that time a year again; a favorite holiday shop of mine, Pickle Me Pete, is back with delicious pickled treats. The Pickle Me Pete kiosk is located on the east side of the fountain, at kiosk C13 on the Winter Village brochure map.

Pickle Me Pete is back on the Fountain Terrace until January 4. 
Pickle Me Pete, as you might imagine, specializes in pickles. These pickles are not your typical grocery store bought jar pickles. Yes, there are classics such as Full Sour, Half Sour, and Bread and Butter, but there are also unusual flavors like Wasabi, Ridiculously Spicy, and even Fried Pickles.

The fried pickles are a great combination of salty, crunchy, and creamy (from the ranch dressing that comes on the side, of course). 
The Ridiculously Spicy pickle is a great novelty gift for spicy food lovers. I do not think it’s possible to eat more than one Ridiculously Spicy pickle in less than a half hour. I fed some unknowing coworkers slices of the Ridiculously Spicy pickle and their faces said it all. My favorite pickles are the Half Sour flavor, as they've always been my favorite kind. They remind me of a delicatessen I used to go to for a pastrami sandwich when I was a little kid. So when given the opportunity I like to pick up the spot-on Half Sour pickles at Pickle Me Pete.

The half sour pickles have the slightly salty snap that is the signature of a quality pickle.

Pickle Me Pete’s flavors:

Sweet Chipotle Chips
Bread N Butter
Small Horseradish
Small Half Sour
Large Kosher Dill
Small Kosher Dill
Wasabi
Super Spicy
Ridiculous Spicy

Pickled green tomatoes are also available.

Prices for pickles are as follows:

Quart containers , mix and match - $7
Small pickles – 4 for 3 or $7 a quart
Large pickles - $2 each or $7 a quart
Sliced pickles - $3 cup or $7 a quart
Ridiculously Spicy - $3 each or $10 a quart
Fried Pickles - $6 per skewer

Pickle Me Pete also has apparel to show your pickle pride. From T-shirts, sweatshirts, to even a pickle Christmas ornament.  Be sure to check out Pickle Me Pete’s website at http://picklemepete.com/ and like them on Facebook.

Pickle Me Pete
Open daily
Weekdays, 11am - 8pm 
Saturdays, 10am - 9pm
Sundays, 10am - 6pm 
Kiosk C13
#WinterVillage

Monday, October 27, 2014

Walk the Shops at Winter Village on Thursday Evenings

In addition to our Tasting Tuesday series this season, we have even more ways for you to experience the Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops. On four Thursday evenings this season from 5pm-7pm, join us for Walk the Shops, themed tours of the many new kiosks dotting the park.

To participate in Walk the Shops, simply sign up with our staff at the Southwest Porch at the check-in table, where they will give you a wristband and a handy map of The Shops. Using the map, proceed on your own on a self-guided tour of that night's participating shops, all following a certain theme.
This year's themes are:
October 30th: Art
November 6th: Made in NY (featuring products made in the state of New York)
November 13th: Spanning the Globe (featuring products made around the world)
November 20th: Art
From posters to paintings to pottery, our Holiday Shop vendors have art of all shapes and sizes for you to browse
At this Thursday's event, Walk the Shops: Art, the park turns into our own outdoor art gallery. Complete with refreshments available at select Shops, take a tour of the Holiday Shops specializing in art. Chat with the artisans, take a look at their work - or even buy some for yourself. 
Just like Tasting Tuesdays, all participants are eligible to receive a free gift certificate at the end of the tour (while supplies last - limit one gift certificate per person, maximum of two gift certificates per family). 
Walk the Shops
Thursdays: Oct 30, Nov 6, Nov 13, Nov 20
5pm-7pm
Various Holiday Shops
Meet at the Southwest Porch to check in
#WinterVillage

Friday, October 24, 2014

Visit #WinterVillage on Its First Open Weekend This Season


The lawn is an emerald in the summer. The rink is a diamond in the winter.

Our "gem" of a Winter Village is open for its first weekend in the season. Make a night of it this evening, enjoy the sound of your blades scraping the ice on Saturday, or taste the flavors of the world on Sunday. Better yet, join us for all three!

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Daily, 8am - 10pm
#WinterVillage

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ask Bryant Park: Where Can I Find Winter Village FAQs?

In the Ask Bryant Park Series we hope to shed light on some of the questions that members of the public frequently pose to us about the park. If you have a question you'd like us to cover in this series, write it on the bottom of this post or e-mail us at bpc@urbanmgt.com. 

When the  Bank of America Winter Village opens each year, we get a flurry of questions about the who, what, where, when and why of The Rink, the Holiday Shops, Celsius, pricing, and more. To make the whole process easier on our visitors, this year we have rolled out a new and improved Winter Village FAQ section on the website


To make things even easier for all you Winter Village visitors, we're posting the whole FAQ page here as well. Check it out before you arrive at the park to find out more about the little details you may find yourself thinking about later on in your visit. 


The new and improved FAQ page features all the Q&A's you may have about all things Winter Village. If for some reason your questions isn't answered by the page, give us a call at 212-661-6640 or email wintervillage@urbanmgt.com. 

Happy skaters on The Rink at last year's Winter Village
Photo by Erin Kestenbaum
Skating: 
How much does it cost to skate?
Admission to skate is free. Skate rentals are available for $15/pair ($19/pair Nov 26, 2014-Jan 4,2015). Click here for detailed information about pricing. 

What types and sizes of skates are available for rental?
- 80% of our rental skates are lace-up. We also have hockey skates.
- Sizes: Kids 8-4, Adults 5-15

Is The Rink open if it's raining or snowing?
The Rink will close during heavy rain or severe storms; for updates click here. The status of the rink is posted on the top left side of the site, and updated throughout the day.

How long can I skate on the ice?
Skating time limit is approximately 1.5 hours so that everyone can enjoy free public ice skating at The Rink.

Where can I leave my bags/shoes while skating?
Lockers are located inside the Skating Pavilion and are free of charge. All personal items must be stowed in a locker. Purses are not allowed on The Rink. Bring your own lock or purchase one inside the pavilion. Bag check service is also located inside the Skating Pavilion for a fee

How big are the free lockers in the Skating Pavilion?
Lockers are one square foot and hold a pair of shoes and a small personal item.

How many items can you fit in the bag check?
- The small bag check container is 22"x28". It is usually suitable for 2-3 people.
- The large bag check container is 30"x40" and is generally suitable for 3-5 people.

Can I use my phone or camera on The Rink?
Cell phones and cameras are not allowed on the ice. 

Can I make a reservation to skate?
You can make group reservations here. Solo skaters can buy a FastPass in order to skip the line.

Are skate lessons available?
Yes, click here for more info on skating lessons at The Rink.

Can I get my skates sharpened at The Rink?

Yes, skate sharpening is available inside the Skating Pavilion for a fee.

Can I play hockey at The Rink?
Hockey games are not allowed during normal rink hours.

What can I do while waiting for skaters?
- Sit rinkside on the deck
- Wait for friends and family inside the Skating Pavilion
- Stroll through the Holiday Shops
- Dine with rink views at Celsius
- Enjoy the firepit at Southwest Porch

I need socks for ms skates! Are they available purchase?

Not in the Skating Pavilion, but while the Holiday Shops are open (until Jan, 4, 2015) you can buy socks at Soxeteer and Bergies Super Socks.

Holiday Shops:

Are the Holiday Shops open on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day?
A large percentage of shops are open on holidays, but some will choose to close. 

Do the Shops take credit cards?

Yes, most of the Holiday Shops take credit cards.

Is there an ATM nearby?

Yes, an ATM is located inside the Skating Pavilion.

Are the Holiday Shops open during inclement weather?

The Holiday Shops will be open during normal rain or snowfall. They will close if the park is closed due to dangerous weather conditions, or if there is a severe storm.

How can I contact a Shops vendor?

If you are having trouble finding a vendor, please call 212-661-6640 and our Shops experts can help you. 

I want to be a vendor at the Holiday Shops. Who do I contact?

Please call 212-661-6640 or email info@upsilonventures.com. 

General:

I'd love to host a party at Winter Village. How do I do that?
There are several options for parties at Winter Village: plan a group skate, rent the Parka Lounge, book a party at Celsius, and more. Call 212-661-6640 for more information.

Is Celsius in the park year-round?

No, Celsius is a "pop-up" winter restaurant that complements The Rink at Winter Village.

Does Celsius take reservations?
Celsius does not take advance reservations. 

I want to make a reservation at the Bryant Park Grill. 

Please call the restaurant at 212-840-6500.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tasting Tuesdays Return to Winter Village

The opening of this season's Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops means a new crop of food options right here in the park. From chocolates to empanadas to cider to waffles, the Shops are filled with all kinds of food and drink to fuel your skating and shopping.

On Tasting Tuesdays, we offer you the chance to browse the Shops, sampling their food and drinks for free. This gives you the chance to pick our your favorite treats for the season and gives you a fun opportunity to walk around the shops with a snack in hand.

What could make this even better you ask? At the end of the event, check back in with our staff at the sign-in table and you'll receive a gift certificate to one of the Holiday Shop vendors (available while supplies last).

Some highlights from last year's Tasting Tuesdays samplings
How: 
Participating is simple: there is no pre-registration or ticket required to take part in Tasting Tuesdays. All you have do is visit the sign-in table at the Southwest Porch (located in the park, near the corner of 40th Street and 6th Avenue). There, you will receive a bracelet entitling you to all the free samples your heart (and stomach) desire.

Where:
When you stop by the sign-in table, you will be given a map of the Holiday Shops showing which Shops are participating in the event. This way, you'll be able to amble among the Shops at your own pace and pick your own route.

When:
True to their name, Tasting Tuesdays will take place every Tuesday from 5pm-7pm. Participation is first come first served.

Tasting Tuesdays
Tuesdays: Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18
5pm-7pm
Various Holiday Shops
Meet at the Southwest Porch to check in
#WinterVillage

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Winter Village 2014 Holiday Shops Map and Directory Released

It's that most wonderful time of the year...the time when our list of vendors in the Bank of America Winter Village Holiday Shops is released!

This year's featured lineup of 127 Holiday Shops vendors is a combination of veterans and new favorites. There is truly something for everyone on your list, even the most difficult-to-shop-for individual. If you're not a shopper, you'll enjoy the expanded lunch opportunities in the neighborhood as the food kiosks open for business. At any rate, wandering the neat rows of shops is a pleasant experience.


Those in the know about wintervillage.org may have noticed that the map and directory has been live for several weeks now, as we've been quietly updating the page in preparation for the big announcement!

We'll feature a link to the Holiday Shops Map and Directory all season on the blog, at the top right hand corner of the page. If you choose to visit through the wintervillage.org page, you can access in-depth information about each of the Shops on the Directory page, and a clickable map on the Map page.

The Holiday Shops will be open for your enjoyment until January 4.