Cold and snowy as it may be, you don't really want to stay inside your hotel or apartment, do you? How to get out and make the most of iconic wintry New York.
Prospect Park is equally lovely in all four seasons, but in winter you have more of it to yourself, and the sledding on the meadow near Grand Army Plaza is fantastic. Not only is it not as small and constrained as Pilgrim Hill, but the massive meadow is near other children's delights, including the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Public Library main branch.
Not just a gorgeous garden in summer, BBG becomes more of a cultural than botanic destination every year. From vintage parties to members' picnics, plant shopping days to the annual cherry blossom celebration, this is not to be missed. A romantic date!
Touristy as it may be, Rock Center has this going for it -- a car-free pedestrian area with plenty of restaurants, shops, and an ice rink where watching may be even more fun than skating. Get a hot chocolate and a warm cookie at Jacques Torres and enjoy the charming view of happy children skating in matching hat and mitten sets. Cold? Go under the plaza to warm up in the many shops and restaurants.
Central Park is a no-brainer for seasonal fun, but most of my fellow New Yorkers haven't used it to cross-country ski, snowshoe, ride horses, play ice hockey or visit the zoo in winter. Consider The Conservatory Gardens at 105th Street for a quiet, contemplative visit, or head to Wollman Rink or Lasker Rink for ice skating. Sled at Pilgrim Hill. Make snow angels and grab food at Le Pain Quotidien or Loeb Boathouse. Warm up at The Met afterwards.
I was recently at Fort Tryon Park during a snowstorm, and chilly as it was, it couldn't have been lovelier. Sweeping views of the Hudson River fight with the majestic view of the medieval Cloisters looming above. Bring your camera and a book to collect pressed leaves. Sign up for a birdwatching tour with NYC Parks & Recreation. Stop for brunch at New Leaf afterwards.
The hot chocolate is delicious, but if you're feeling ready to switch over to nighttime drinks, try the Double Chocolate Stout and ask for a scoop of ice cream.
The most breathtaking park in Brooklyn hosts views of the East River, the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. You'll see wedding parties, couples strolling, dogs, babies, old folks, young folks -- the gamut of human life comes here. Romantic, with film screenings in the summer and Narnia-like views in the winter of lampposts against a wintry endless wonderland. Ride Jane's Carousel to complete the magic experience, and then return to yummy reality with pizza at Grimaldi's or ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
Perennially crowded with a waiting room like a mosh pit, this free rink is frequently Zambonied because of heavy usage. Cost of skates: $14. But BYOS and its entirely free with a pretty view to boot. You can't beat that in NYC.