Photo by Colin Miller
When the ice skating rink and holiday market opens at Bryant Park this month, things will look a little different than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, the Bank of America Winter Village will require face coverings, reservations for the rink, and will debut a new layout of shops for optimal distancing. Now in its 19th year, the winter village will open on October 30 and run through March 7, 2021.
The ice rink, which is the city’s only free-admission skating rink, will be outdoor only and open daily. Reservations for skate-time and rentals must be made in advance online and capacity will be limited. New reservation dates will be added every two weeks throughout the season.
Skaters must wear face coverings both on the ice and in adjacent areas, and each skater or group of skaters will have to provide a name and email address for contact tracing purposes. In addition to operating at a reduced capacity, the park is also shortening skate sessions. During peak days, sessions will be one hour and five minutes, with off-peak sessions lasting slightly longer.
There will be no lockers at the rink, so skaters will wear a “shoe bag, a drawstring backpack worn while skating. Learn more about the new skating regulations here.
The park’s well-known open-air holiday market, curated by Urbanspace, will be reconfigured to allow for more social distancing and less crowded walkways. Typically, over 150 vendors are set up in small custom-designed “jewel box” kiosks next to the park’s plazas and terraces. This year’s holiday market vendors, which will be open until January 3, 2021, will be announced in the coming days.
Bank of America will be selecting four New York City-based minority-owned small businesses to showcase products at a booth at the holiday market for free. Basic build-out of the shop will be provided and assembled for the business.
And visitors can still enjoy the outdoor Lodge Deck, which offers fun seasonal cocktails, food, and a place to people watch and look at the holiday tree. Throughout the park, additional cleaning protocols will be implemented at high-touch surfaces and rental equipment. Handwashing stations will be available throughout the park.
Ahead of the opening of the winter village, you can watch Bryant Park transform into a winter wonderland by webcam here.
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Editor’s note 10/19/20: An earlier version of this post misstated the opening date of the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. It opens on October 30, 2020, not October 31.