For the longest time, The Rink at Rockefeller Center and Central Park's Wollman Rink were the two main outdoor rinks in the heart of Manhattan. During the 2005-2006 skating season, tourists and New Yorkers were presented with another midtown venue to skate in with the opening of The Pond at Bryant Park, located on 6th Avenue at 42nd Street.
This temporary rink measures 170' x 100' and each year is built directly above the New York Public Library's underground climate-controlled book annex. For the 2007-2008 season, The Pond is open daily from October to mid-January with the following hours:
- Sunday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Friday & Saturday 8:00 a.m. to Midnight
Unlike other outdoor rinks in NYC, admission is free but if you don't have your own skates, rentals are available for $10. The Pond also offers free lockers to store your shoes and other items so bring your lock. Be warned - their lockers are small so some people end up using the $7 bag check where you can store larger items in a laundry-sized bag. The Pond is also available for skating lessons, parties and corporate events. More information can be obtained by calling (212) 382-2953 or (866) 221-5157.
I've skated at The Pond many times and it's definitely less crowded than Rockefeller Rink, which is where I usually skate. The Pond doesn't rent out lockers for the season (unlike Rockefeller) so that in itself is a disincentive for me to skate there. With a work bag, laptop, and probably balancing a venti Starbucks coffee, the last thing I want to lug around is a (pretty heavy) pair of skates.
After the rink is disassembled in January, tents are set up at Bryant Park in preparation for New York Fashion Week.