winter village nyc

Iconic NYC Winter Village Will Be Open After All

It’s no secret that New York City has been one of the biggest victims of this year’s pandemic. The small Northeastern state has dealt with over half a million cases and more than 33,000 deaths thus far, most of which in the capital NYC. Despite managing to get a grasp on the virus earlier this summer, COVID-19 still manages to cast a long shadow over this city. Many events this year have been cancelled from the iconic ball drop to the Rockettes annual Christmas Spectacular. Simply put, New York City is just different now. However, there is one thing tourists and locals can look forward to this year, and that’s Bryant Park’s Winter Village.

winter village nyc
image: The Bryant Park Hotel/Facebook

NYC Bryant Park’s Winter Village Will Be Open After All

There has been lots of uncertainty over whether or not Bryant Park will be hosting their annual Christmas market this year due to the virus. Fortunately, the holidays won’t be all “bah humbug” this year after all. Manhattan’s Bryant Park will indeed be hosting this year’s NYC Winter Village complete with its 17,000 sq ft skating rink, jumbo tree and holiday shops galore. Best part? The Winter Village will be open before you even dress up for Halloween. Starting October 30, Bryant Village’s Winter Village will be in full swing all the way through March 7, 2021. Visitors can wander the Winter Village Monday – Friday: 11 am-8 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10 am-8 pm.

What are the Covid Protocols?

The organizers have scaled things back quite a bit this year to practice safer measures during the pandemic. The aisles will be wider, vendors fewer and distancing will be enforced. The extravagant tree lighting ceremony will be done in private and without a crowd, and the total number of shops will be reduced by a third. Ice skating will still be free for holiday revellers; however, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance to ensure a limited number of skaters on the rink. Additionally, there will be more outdoor options for food, and most touch surfaces will be sanitized periodically throughout the day.

winter village nyc
image: The Lexington Hotel/Facebook

A 2020/2021 Winter Village is a huge win for New York City. It’s a sign of a return (albeit slow) to normalcy and a revival of one of the world’s most vibrant cities holiday season and otherwise. This year has put NYC through the wringer with countless hotel, restaurant and small business closures. Even well known historic hotels such as The Roosevelt have fallen victim leaving the bustling city with lots of uncertainty over the economic future. In a pre-pandemic world, NYC was one of the best Christmas destinations worldwide.

During the holiday season, upwards of 800,000 people stroll through Rockefeller Center each day taking in the jingle bells and holiday cheer. This year those figures will no doubt be much different, but it seems there is still room for some Yuletide joy. Whether you call The Big Apple home or plan to visit, be sure to keep up to date with Bryant Park’s Winter Village here.

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

View stories