Summer in the city gets a lot more love than winter, some of it deserved, some not. Winter doesn’t have the free concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, and the general opportunity to make any event fun by the addition of the word “outside.” But summer doesn’t have snow, when the city becomes oddly, deliciously quiet and the only sounds are millions of people gradually unclenching knotted shoulders. There’s a better world out there than the one of winter boyfriends. Some suggestions on how to enjoy it:
Go sledding in any of Brooklyn’s parks. Prospect Park, Fort Greene and Sunset Park are tops, while those in Crown Heights and Bay Ridge respectively should seek out Lincoln Terrace Park and McKinley Park respectively. Or grab a few friends and get ready for an epic snowman contest. And if you need a little extra dough, you can always make some shoveling snow.
While the Lakeside Rink in Prospect Park won’t be open until the fall of 2013, you can still visit Aviator Sports (3159 Flatbush Ave), which was named one of the best rinks in New York City by the Daily News. Admission is $9 all the time, and $5 to rent a pair of skates, though you can always bring your own. Best of all, the rink is open until 12:30am on Saturday. OK, so Aviator is all the way out in Floyd Bennett Field, but haven’t you been wanting to get away?
Fireworks in Prospect Park on New Year’s Eve
Whether you’re coming back from a party, or just starting your epic night off, stop by Grand Army Plaza starting at 11pm for some hot chocolate, or just bring a bottle of champagne to the prime viewing spots, either anywhere inside the park near the West Drive, or along Prospect Park West. They’re a lot more interesting, and thousand times less crowded than watching a ball drop in Times Square.
Bars with Fireplaces
Bars with fireplaces are the best way to balance your desire to hibernate with the desire to still have friends once hibernation is over. Sure your other local bars might have great drinks, but they don’t have the advantage of a roaring fire, and inspiration to imagine you’re in a ski lodge, all for the price of a subway ride. After you’re done with the sledding and the snowball fights, enjoy the coziness of curling up by the fire in any of the options below.
In Greenpoint, Black Rabbit’s (91 Greenpoint Ave) prohibition-era vibe features pre-war fixtures, nineteenth century decorations, booths with swinging doors, plus a button-activated light bulb that you’ll need to use to get your server’s attention. These booths are cozy year round, but for some winter warmth, head to back for some fireplace action. The Black Rabbit ale is always $4 and the winter drinks like Hot Toddies, Irish Coffee, Eggnog spiked with rum or brandy, and hot cider will keep you warm and drunk for just $7, which cocktail-wise, is pretty damn gentle.
Just a block from Smith Street but seemingly a world away is the Black Mountain
Winehouse (415 Union St.), which looks like a lodge from the Adirondacks transplanted to the Gowanus Canal. The country house feeling continues inside, with the kind of forgiving lighting that makes everyone look attractive, comfortable chairs and in the winter, a crackling fire which pretty much demands a glass of red wine, and some of their rich mac and cheese. Which leads me to another winter advantage-the freedom to enjoy carbs and cheese without the accompaniment of summer guilt.
Over in Bay Ridge, you’ll find Lonestar (8703 5th Ave.), a Texas-themed bar, which features occasional live music and surprise-free bar grub that will keep you warm even when the fireplace doesn’t. The drinks list isn’t groundbreaking, but the gentle prices and laid-back setting make up for it.