Thanks to the bitterly cold temperatures we have been experiencing this winter, leaving the warmth of the One Manhattan Square condos can prove difficult, if not impossible. After all, there’s no better place to be (and no better view) when a storm is descending over the city. But once the clouds clear, the Lower East Side becomes a winter wonderland, rife with possibility for adventuring. There are plenty of draws to lure residents out into the crisp air, including the brand-new skating rink, restaurants, and rooftop bar at nearby Pier 17. So, bundle up warm, call up some friends, and “skate the skyline.”
Why are locals so excited about the Winterland Rink at Pier 17? It’s not like Manhattan has a shortage of spectacular skating places — Wollman Rink draws thousands of visitors every year, and offers a chance to experience Central Park from the ice. What sets Winterland apart from others is its unique location: It’s way up high.
Manhattan’s only rooftop rink, Winterland offers a new way to experience both ice skating and the city, with vaulting views of the Brooklyn Bridge and glittering reflections of city lights on the East River. A few circuits around the heart-shaped rink, and you’ll be wondering why no one thought of rooftop skating before now. The setting makes for a romantic backdrop, day or night, and the effect is even more dramatic if the city is graced with a light snowfall. Should the elements become too much, however, seek refuge in The Tank.
Though it’s billed as a warming hut, The Tank is closer in nature to a chalet with posh furniture and flickering candlelight. Snacks that perfectly fit the mood of a snug mountain lodge await. Warm up with a bowl of squash soup, served with a grape reduction, crème fraȋche, and spicy pepitas. Or, indulge in a treat your inner child will love: a gooey, oven-fresh, plate-sized chocolate chip cookie. Encased in floor-to-ceiling windows, The Tank is a cozy vantage point from which to observe your friends circling the rink in the snowy wind-swept world outside.
If you’re looking for a more upscale reprieve, head upstairs to R17, the rooftop cocktail bar. Billed as a “gilt-edged, candlelit dimension,” R17 keeps its promise to deliver an experience that is elevated in more ways than one. Massive windows with sparkling skyline views are, of course, part of the attraction, but the ambience plays a significant role, too. Multiple fireplaces and lounge seating create an atmosphere that encourages intimate conversation. You may find yourself lingering, especially after you taste the food.
Executive Chef Cassidy Hallman is at the helm in the kitchen, and the small, yet well-rounded menu doesn’t disappoint. Gems like the wagyu beef skewers with togarashi and the diver scallop tartare with brioche and truffles match the upscale setting. The beer and wine list is extensive, but it’s the cocktails that will catch your eye, thanks to their unique compositions. The Arco Iris, for instance, is made with Hornitos plata, reposado, and añejo tequilas, and tinged with cardamom and kumquat — a flavor combination you won’t soon forget. Sitting in the playful light of the fire with a perfectly mixed and warming libation in your hand, you may even forget it’s winter.