New ice rink adds sheen to Bryant Park holiday market

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NEW YORK -- The Big Apple is always a popular destination in the holiday season, but this year one of the citys newer traditions, the Fetes de Noel holiday market, becomes a multidimensional event, thanks to the addition of a public ice-skating rink.

Founded in 2002, the Fetes de Noel, held in Bryant Park, has operated each of its first three seasons in the tradition of a medieval Christmas festival, as a place to shop.

This year, there also will be ice skating on a 17,000-square-foot rink known as the Pond at Bryant Park.

Financial giant Citicorp is providing the rink.

Although rink access is free, skates, helmets and lockers can be rented in a heated, 3,500-square-foot warming tent. Lessons will be offered, too.

The Pond is the one of five public ice rinks in Manhattan. The others -- Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, Rockefeller Center and Lasker Rink and Wollman Rink in Central Park -- charge admission.

The Bryant Park skating season opened Oct. 28 and will conclude Jan. 16.

Although the winter will last much longer, Bryant Park has commitments to host its fair share of New Yorks winter Fashion Week events, always held in late January.

Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library, occupies most of the city blocks bounded by Fifth and Sixth avenues and 40th to 42nd streets.

The Bryant Park Grill will operate an adjacent, tented Ice Cafe for as long as the rink is open.

The Fetes de Noel launched in 2002 and has grown its list of vendors each season; it projects up to 150 of them this year.

The market is open from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1.

According to New York tourist board NYC & Co., the Bryant Park market is the citys largest in terms of square footage.

This year, it may prove to be the largest in terms of vendor count, as well.

For more on Fetes de Noel and the Pond at Bryant Park, visit www.fetesdenoel.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

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