Even in the dead of winter you might hear the phrase, "meet me at the pool!" McCarren pool has been keeping families cool during Brooklyn summers since way back in 1936, but for the first time in its 77-year history it will welcome visitors year-round. This holiday season, the recently rehabilitated pool deck will become the McCarren Rink, a transformation that has the press abuzz, including The New York Times. The rink will also include gourmet eats provided by Hanson Bros.–which was featured in a recent article on Grub Street– and an on-site skate shop, and is scheduled to remain open through January or longer, depending on public demand and weather predictions from local groundhogs.
City Ice Pavilion's NHL-sized rooftop rink is open to ice-capaders year-round. That's thanks, in part, to the large weatherproof dome that curves over the the interior and gives it a cavernous feel, much like the ancient ice skating rinks found in pyramids. Aspiring skaters can take lessons, then try out their new skills during public skate sessions or adult or youth hockey leagues. Besides classes and open skating times, the Ice Pavilion also hosts a wide range of skating-themed events, including a regular morning coffee club for experienced adult skaters.
Relaxing and working out don't usually go hand-in-hand, but things aren't usual at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. As soon as visitors set foot in the Mind Body Studio, they're set at ease by a modern lounge area, which boasts sleek bamboo floors, exposed brick walls, and sprigs of verdant plants. Inside the workout space, classes such as yoga and the barre method emphasize the mind-body connection. The Nalini Method classes also push students toward inner harmony with a combination of Pilates, aerobics, barre work, and yoga, helping students de-stress while toning limbs and burning calories without ever tossing any cheesecakes into open flames.
Steeplechase caters to serious skaters and blade bush leaguers alike with a variety of semiprivate lessons. Helmed by instructors belonging to the U.S. Figure Skating Association, classes span an array of styles, including figure skating, dance, freestyle, and hockey. Students will learn how to impress skeptical sidekicks with fundamental skating techniques, specialized ice skills, and the basic moves required for killer reenactments of Citizen Kane on ice. Enrollees are encouraged bring their own skates and gloves (rental is $4.50), and admission to the rink ($8) is not included.
From November until early March, it becomes impossible to walk across Bryant Park. You have to skate across. The grounds' 170'x100' ice rink acts as the swirling hub of the Bank of America Winter Village. There's no admission fee to glide over the ice—though guests do pay for rental skates if they don't bring or grow their own—and entertainment such as skating shows and lessons keep the rink bustling. Between twirls, visitors can glide by the Ice Bites shop for cups of hot chocolate and snacks.
The rink may be the Winter Village's largest attraction, but there's plenty more to the holiday-themed wonderland. More than 125 gift shops line the park's terraces with jewelry, decor, food, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Within sight of the holiday tree and its nests of newly-hatched flying reindeer, the two-story Celsius restaurant serves upscale sandwiches and other warming eats. A variety of other events pack the calendar, including holiday movies on the park's Southwest Porch and gift-wrapping services at a special kiosk.
At Winter Garden Ice Arena, families slice ice during public skate sessions or slap pucks into goals during adult or youth hockey leagues. There are also figure-skating programs, and the center’s icy confines and private party room make ideal meeting grounds for children’s birthday parties.