Winter Skate

Wells-Fargo-Winter-Skate-BroomballThe first time I drove into downtown Saint Paul, Minn., it was New Years Day, 1999. I was trying to find my way to a place called the Saint Paul Union Depot for the opening of the Titanic exhibition. Even though I was lost, I was distracted by the fact the area I now know as Lowertown, looked like New York City. I had never been to New York, but in my head, at that moment, I felt like I was in New York.

When I had the opportunity to move to the Twin Cities later that same year, I knew exactly where I wanted to live – the place that made me feel like I was in the West Village of New York.

As a 14 year resident of the Lowertown district of Saint Paul, I have watched the city blossom into a beautiful, mature lady. One event that has been in Saint Paul even longer than me is the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Minnesotans take their winters seriously. They complain about the cold and the snowy commutes like the best of them, but at the end of the day, they celebrate winter. So much so, each January, they put on a two-week party called Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

As part of Winter Carnival, the city lights the parks, decks the halls, and sets up outdoor activities for all to enjoy during the cold months both before and after the carnival. One of these outdoor activities, that reminds me so much of New York (now that I’ve been there many times), is a pop up skating rink. The Wells Fargo Winter Skate is open to the public for skating, broomball, which you see in the picture above, and youth hockey events.

It’s classic and romantic and fun. I hope to bump into you sometime in my northern Midwest version of New York sometime.

Bryant Park Winter Village

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Pop-up markets, especially around the holidays, are one of the unique and wonderful things that help make New York, New York. Union Square Holiday Market is big and bright and smells like pine cones and peanut brittle. Artisans sell their jewelry and handmade products, and vendors offers spices, herbs, oils and sweets. On the weekends the park is packed with locals and tourists alike.

I prefer a quieter pop-up market, and I was reminded of this on my recent trip to NYC. Bryant Park Winter Village isn’t as large as its competition, but there are still 125 booths with high class finery. Better yet, if you are looking to avoid the crush at Rockefeller Center, there is a skating rink, warming house and restaurant, all with a spectacular view of a huge, decked out Christmas tree.

Bryant Park Winter Village is located behind the New York Public Library, 5th Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018. Want to read more about New York? Visit a summary of all Travel Snapshot New York posts.

Frequent flier

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For the first time in my life I arrived home from New York, unpacked my bag, and left the suitcase out because I’m going to start packing for my next adventure this weekend. Incredibly grateful.

This is day 156 of Photo 365.

Chrysler Building

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This is the week before Saint Paul Art Crawl, which means our house is full of photography prints, canvases and stationary as husband prepares his studio for the weekend. One of my favorite photos in this year’s collection is a foggy, blurred scene of the Chrysler Building he took the last time we were in New York. And it’s day 114 of Photo 365.