1. REDISCOVERING NEW YORK: Bryant Park Winter Village Ice-Skating

    There’s something so cool about ice-skating outside in the middle of a big city.  There you are gliding on the ice and above, like a forest of sequoia, highrises loom over you, their lights twinkling like stars. It’s an odd juxtaposition of a rural activity plunged smack dab into the middle of an urban landscape.

    There are many ice rinks in New York City but the Winter Village in Bryant Park is my favorite. It’s a perfect combination of location (Times Square, The Public Library, and Grand Central Terminal are a hop skip and a jump away), beauty (the park is beautifully landscaped and large enough that even when it draws large crowds you never feel claustrophobic), energy (so close to so many big tourist sites there’s always a palpable buzz), and fun (families laughing, first dates, kids playing, It’s all kind of a given at a skating rink - I even witnessed a center-rink marriage proposal).

    The Winter Garden is open until March 2, and admission is free. The powers that be however, charge for skate rentals, locks for lockers, helmets, skate sharpening, and bag check.

    On the north side of the rink there’s a large two-story glass-enclosed restaurant named Celcius with a bar, lounge and an outdoor terrace made cozy with a slew of heat lamps. Whether you’re there with kids in tow or hanging with friends, there’s a little something for everyone. You can check out the menu here.

    Visit before January 5 and you can also indulge in a little post Christmas shopping at the park’s 125 boutique holiday shops, where you’ll find gourmet treats, clothes, and accessories.  You name it, you’ll probably find some version of it here.

    Winter Village ice-skating: Now - March 2, 2014.

    Holiday shops: Now -January 5, 2014

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