Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will host its annual Tree Lighting on Tuesday, November 28, at 6pm. This year’s event will be hosted by Broadway performers Jessica Vosk and Mauricio Martínez and will feature a stellar lineup of live skating performances from Olympic skaters Mariah Bell, Karen Chen, Ryan Bradley, and World Champion skating pair Alexa Knierim and Brandon Fraizer, as well as Ice Theatre of New York, Figure Skating in Harlem, and The Skyliners. The evening will also include fireworks, holiday music and the world premiere of Ice Theatre of New York’s performance to Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker, which was specially choreographed by Kolton Krouse for Bryant Park.
This year’s tree, standing 48 feet tall and weighing more than 8,000 pounds, is a sight to be seen, with over 1,000 oversized ornaments, including giant glimmering pine cones and traditional holiday bells. Head to Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park on November 28 to watch as the tree is lit with approximately 12,000 lights.
Attendance is free and no tickets are required. Capacity is limited and first-come, first-served. Seating for the event opens at 4pm. Enter Bryant Park between 40th and 42nd Streets on 6th Avenue and look for signs for the event. For those who are unable to join in person, the event will be live-streamed for free at wintervillage.org.
Performers will include:
●Alicia Hall Moran (award-winning, Harlem-based, vocalist and composer accompanying Figure Skating in Harlem)
American figure skaters appearing will be:
●Mariah Bell (2022 U.S. Olympian and 2022 National Champion)
●Karen Chen (2022 U.S. Team Silver Medalist and 3-time U.S. National Bronze Medalist)
●Ryan Bradley (2011 U.S. National Champion and 2008 Skate Canada International Silver Medalist)
●Alex Knierim and Brandon Fraizer (2002 World Champions, 2022 U.S. Olympic Team Silver Medalists, 2023 World Silver Medalists)
●Ice Theatre of New York
●Figure Skating in Harlem
I was lucky enough to attend VIP Night at the Winter Village recently and was able to check out some of the hot spots which include over 180 vendors of crafts and fantastic homemade food items that will really put you in the holiday mood. Pictured above is an assortment of the fabulous cheesecake “sundaes” at Sweet Tooth, just inside the side doors of The Lodge, which features a full bar. The signature cocktail is Mulled Wine and it will definitely put you in the holiday spirit and help you relax.
Beyond crafts, food and gifting items are booths of stunning paintings. The Artisans Of New York booth sells art that can appease any taste. Colorful watercolors as pictured above bring a bit of sunniness to the winter months if you put them in a prominent place in your apartment!
My top gourmet gifting choices are the long lasting jars and sets of truffle-based items from The Truffliest booth. While picking out your holiday gifts, there are igloos that can be rented for $215 which your kids can sit in to warm up —or the “fam” can be off skating or riding the ice bumper cars. I am personally happy to be able to watch the skaters from the outdoor section of The Lodge or from any of the freestanding green chairs and tables scattered throughout Bryant Park all year long.
As a hardcore foodie, my favorite places in the Winter Village are small, out of town baked goods stands like the Hudson Valley Farmhouse Bakery pictured above (it is situated in the park at about 41st Street and Sixth Avenue). They have the ultimate in cake-style cinnamon donuts which to me are a sugar maniac’s highlight of both fall and winter in New York. Check out more on the Bank Of America Winter Village (and even make reservations for skating and other attractions) at the aforementioned wintervillage.org.