“❄ It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go ❄”
Now that Halloween is officially over and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, planning for the upcoming holidays is in full swing and with that comes the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park!
The Winter Village is as magical as it sounds. Tons of cozy little see-through holiday shops selling things like gourmet chocolates, warm apple cider, beautiful handmade jewelry, funny little puppets, and so much more dot the park’s grounds; an old-fashioned carousel provides entertainment for the kids; and ice skating – free if you have your own ice skates, $15 if you don’t – provides visitors the opportunity to glide beneath the stars with the most breathtaking of views.
Yesterday, I visited the park in order to take part in one of their events known as Tasting Tuesdays. I love food and I love free things, and this event combined the best of both worlds! This is a first-come, first-served event in which participants are given a wristband and map highlighting all of the participating shops so that they’re able to take a self-guided tour throughout the park to sample complimentary food and drink. I mean, could it get any better than that??
Although we are already in November, the weather was absolutely perfect for strolling comfortably from shop to shop. Many of them were very generous with what they offered, while others only offered discounts, and we got to try melt in your mouth chocolate from No Chewing Allowed, flavorful, twice-fried Belgium Frites from The Lucky Sailor, pillowy apple cider donuts with just the right amount of sweetness from Carpe Donut, and one of the last stops we made was at Wafel & Dinges to sample their Throwdown Wafel, described as the, “legendary and glorious victor of the Battle with the great [Bobby] Flay, with spekuloos (cookie butter) & whipped cream.” Yum! There was so much more that we tried from soups to ciders to candy to pies and it truly was a food lover’s paradise!
But wait! It gets even better! After you’ve finished your sumptuous samples (I did that I mention that it was all free, right?), you get a free $25 gift certificate to one of the holiday shops just for participating! If I’m not mistaken, last week’s participants were able to choose which shop they wanted a gift certificate for, but upon realizing that this method took way too much time, we now only had the option to choose from a certain category like Food, Jewelry, General, etc. upon which you’re given a randomly chosen shop. Not the best method because you may end up with a shop that you don’t want, but hey, free is free.
I don’t wear much jewelry, but thought it would be fun to see what I’d get if I chose that category, and ended up with a certificate for a really pretty, delicate travel-inspired jewelry line. Based off what I saw, I don’t think my $25 will get me very much there, but I still don’t regret choosing what I did.
Before leaving, we took one final stroll around the park to check out the shops we’d missed during our food-related tour. One shop called Organic Wares sells organic handmade Thai scarves and the same lights from Chiang Mai that I saw during my trip there, another sold yummy-smelling hand creams, soaps and scrubs, one shop, that looked as though the North Pole just exploded all over it, sold an abundance of Christmas decorations, and another sold stunning rainbow-colored mosaic Turkish lamps that I’m sure anyone would be delighted to receive as a gift. The options are simply endless!
On the way out, we stopped to watch a street artist work on one of his amazing hyperreal paintings that I was shocked to find he was selling for such a low price! For the time and quality of his work, I definitely think he could sell them for much more, but I guess that when you do what you love everything else is just extra. Am I right?
Anyhow, I implore you to check out the Winter Village and all of its upcoming events and activities. It won’t be here for long and smack dab in the middle of all the hubbub that is Times Square and Grand Central, this truly is the oasis for all things shiny, sparkly, and delectable. The final Tasting Tuesday is next week and you definitely don’t want to miss out. Happy Holidays!!