Let a new book, a trip to an ice skating rink with friends or a cup of hot cocoa with fresh whipped cream revive your spirit, carrying you into the New Year with hope and joy, and curing you of those inevitable “January blues.”
World-famous and one of the quintessential New York City experiences, the ice-skating rink in the center of Midtown Manhattan at Rockefeller Center is worth a trip for both tourists and city-goers alike.
Ever wondered what that giant bronze statue is? Or when Rockefeller Center was built? See below for some interesting facts:
- Rockefeller Center is named for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the son of philanthropic oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. It got its start in 1928, when he leased the space from Columbia University. Construction began on May 17, 1930 and ended on November 1, 1933; it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
- Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings that cover 22 acres between 48th and 51st streets; it is NY’s largest underground city, with a concourse featuring retail shops, fast food, fine dining and an ice rink in the wintertime.
- The sculpture in the Lower Plaza by the ice rink is said to be the most photographed monumental sculpture in all of NYC.
- A bronze gilded statue of the Greek legend of the Titan Prometheus, the sculpture was created by renowned American sculptor Paul Manship (1885-1966) in 1934.
- The inscription on the granite wall behind the sculpture is a paraphrase from Aeschylus – one of the three ancient Greek tragedians – which reads, “Prometheus, Teacher in Every Art, Brought the Fire That Hath Proved to Mortals a Means to Mighty Ends”
Learn more about Rockefeller Center here.
The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park in Chicago is another popular attraction for tourists and residents during the wintertime. Over 100,000 people are said to skate there each season. For some interesting tidbits, see below:
- The idea for Millennium Park was first conceived in 1997 with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s vision of turning the area into a new public space for residents of Chicago.
- Located near the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline, it covers a 24.5-acre section of the northwestern Grant Park and consists of a combination of architecture, sculpture, landscape design, music venues and more throughout its Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, Boeing Galleries, Harris Theater, Chase Promenade and others.
- Originally intended to open for the millennium, it opened four years behind schedule on July 16, 2004 (making its 10-year anniversary this past summer)
- One of its most unique features? Cloud Gate – otherwise known as “The Bean” (see below) – which is a 110-ton elliptical sculpture forged from a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. Created by British artist Anish Kapoor, it has a 12-foot-high arch that provides a “gate” to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, where visitors can touch its mirror-like surface. It is among the largest sculptures of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high.
Learn more about Millennium Park here.
And now for the hot chocolate! Treat yourself to Vervacious’* delicious cocoa mix, available in different flavors, such as Espresso, Viennese cinnamon, Sicilian Sambuca, Real Vanilla and more. Supremely thick and rich in taste, this hot chocolate mix is served in cafés worldwide, from Stockholm to Seville, Paris to Prague.
*Vervacious is a Portland, Maine-based company founded by husband and wife Mark and Heidi Stanvich. In 2003, after selling their New England Seacoast home, they spent a year sailing on their ketch Verve, cruising the east coast of North America from Newfoundland to North Carolina, island-hopping to the Lesser Antilles, and then sailing across the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Azores to Portugal. They continued along the coasts of Portugal, Southern Spain and the Balaeric Islands, wintering in Barcelona, where their idea for creating travel-inspired foods was born.
As Heidi & Mark say:
“Food is something to be shared and savored….We put our hearts and souls into each one of our products. They are everyday products meant for pairing with your everyday basics to elevate them to the next level or take them in a new slightly exotic direction. They are inspired by creative individuals and local traditions we have encountered along the way…”
Vervacious makes and sells spice rubs, salt mixes, flavored vinegars and other “fancy foods.” Their flagship store is on 227 Commercial Street in Portland, Maine. You can visit their website here: www.vervacious.com