Bryant Park during the summer is all sunshine and free events.
Bryant Pant during the holidays is all winter village shops and ice skating.
Bryant Park in January? No one talks about Bryant Park in January. A walk after work on Friday evening lead to the discovery: this park is even awesome the worst time of the year. I don’t know why I’m so surprised.
There was a peaceful post holiday calm, but the decorations were still up. A huge Christmas tree still at the head of the ice skating rink. Though that was no longer the center piece, no longer the prized photo-op.
Nope, that was the fountain. When I first saw it, I thought the parks service had winterized it, wrapped it up in some sort of white casing. Oh no. Last week’s far below freezing temperature turned it from water feature to monstrous mount of icicles.
All the shops from the holiday market lay in pieces on the ground. All save one- Waffles and Dings, the dessert vendor, glowed like a lone candle still lit after a gust of wind. I couldn’t resist getting a cup of their belgium hot cocoa with last chance of the season rational.
Snow blanketed bushes, the white and green making fashion-design-worthy patterns. A person became accountable for their steps on the fake grass around the neglected ping-pong tables. The snow stood as evidence: no one played ping-pong since it fell. Even a bird brain could track a pigeon in these conditions.
No little butts sat on the wee red, blue, and yellow chairs of the Children’s Reading Room section. Snow is a bully, it’ll make you wet your pants.
The Southwest Porch lay abandoned. This outdoor bar stayed open through New Years but now it was hibernation time. The ghosts of heat lamps and holiday toasts still whispering through the air on freezing gusts of wind. A couple sat on one of the chair swings rocking gently back and forth. Peaceful. The perfect spot for a heartfelt conversation. Had they been speaking English, I would have eavesdropped.
Holiday cheer well past its expiration date still makes me happy. I’ll never complain about colorful lights in the midst of the January doldrums. Procrastinate all you want, clean up crews. If you’re delayed by the snow, I say, “So much the better.”
The next day I walked through the park again. Workmen carried pieces of the holiday shops. The final bits of the holiday season in NYC on their way out. My guess is, the tree was not far behind. I haven’t been back to Bryant Park this week, but I’d put money there’s no Christmas sparkle to be seen. I’m going to pretend I was one of the last people to see it (and appreciate it). That makes me feel magical.
The ice skating rink is open until March! Maybe ping-pong in the snow is fun. Definitely funny, I’d venture. The bar Celsius overlooks ice skaters and closes the minute the weather warms (March).
Best of all on January 30th-31st Bryant Park is having a Winter Carnival. Complete with Outdoor Winter Brew House, Frozen Fingers Doubles Ping Pong Tournament (the experts confirm it’s fun!), Curling Lessons (you might just have an insane natural inkling for it), Ice Golf, and even more events! Embracing winter makes it so much more fun so check this out if you can!