ALBANY, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the official opening of the Winter at the Plaza event season.
Starting December 3, the Empire “Skate” Plaza rink will open at noon, weather permitting. The annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by Highmark Blue Shield of Northeast New York State will be held on December 5 from noon to 8 p.m.
“Winter at the Plaza is a great way to celebrate the holiday season,” Hochul said. “With free Saturdays for Hannaford skate rentals and energy efficient lighting, these events are accessible to everyone and eco-friendly – so get out into the community and have fun in the winter.”
This year’s tree lighting will also include the unveiling of a new energy efficient lighting system that will illuminate Empire State Plaza in seasonal colors.
OGS Acting Commissioner Jeanette Moy said: “As the new OGS Interim Commissioner, it is an honor to continue the annual tradition of transforming the Empire ‘Skate Plaza into a destination exciting winter fun with activities that provide visitors with fun ways to stay active in freezing weather. . I encourage everyone to celebrate the holiday season by attending the Plaza Tree Lighting and Fireworks Ceremony on December 5th.
“I want to thank our generous sponsors for making winter at the Plaza possible. I also want to congratulate my team at OGS and our partners at NYPA for all their hard work on updating the Plaza with energy efficient and colorful lights.
OGS, in partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), is replacing existing lighting at several OGS facilities in New York State with LED lights. The Empire State Plaza LED upgrade project includes the replacement of 95,000 interior light fixtures. It also involves replacing more than 360 exterior lights with new color-changing LED technology that will transform the Plaza’s unique architecture into an eye-catching display while meeting the state’s energy goals. OGS partnered with NYPA in 2019 to launch the LED lighting project, with NYPA responsible for providing project finance, design, and construction management.
The New York State “I Love NY” logo will appear in the center of the rink as it has done in previous years.
“NYPA and OGS are implementing a comprehensive energy transformation at Empire State Plaza through the development of major remote solar generation, energy efficiency and resilience projects to benefit the complex, and we are very pleased to complete the new LED in-time lighting system for annual tree lighting and the holiday season. The lights have the ability to dynamically illuminate the buildings in the Plaza to match the variety of celebrations throughout the year, ”said Justin E. Driscoll, Interim President and CEO of NYPA.
The Plaza Ice Rink will once again play a major role in a series of free events and activities planned for the season, which begins with opening day at the Plaza Ice Rink on December 3 with music provided from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by DJ TGIF The New York State Holiday Tree Lighting, presented by Highmark Blue Shield of Northeast New York, takes place on December 5. The first Learn to Skate clinic of the season, also presented by Highmark Blue Shield of northeastern New York, will be on December 11.
Empire State Plaza Ice Rink will be offering free skate rentals every Saturday of the 2021-22 season, courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets. The first Saturday Hannaford Free Skate Rental will be on December 4th.
Winter at the Plaza Calendar of events:
• Empire State Plaza Ice Rink opening day – December 3, noon to 8 p.m., with DJ TGIF in concert from 6 to 8 p.m.
• First Hannaford free skate rental on Saturday of the season – December 4th.
• New York State Holiday Tree Lighting presented Highmark Blue Shield of northeastern New York State – December 5, noon to 8 pm. Celebrate the season with outdoor activities the family is sure to love, including rock-and-skate with Skeeter Creek, skating demonstrations by the Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club, Tuba Christmas performances, and photo ops with Santa at Cornerstone at the Plaza. Stewart’s Shop will be offering holiday-flavored eggnog and coffee samples while supplies last. Refreshments will also be available for purchase at B-Rad’s Express and Cornerstone at the Plaza. The official tree lighting and fireworks ceremony, hosted by the News 10 ABC Morning team, will begin at 5:15 p.m.
• The Great Train Extravaganza – December 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The largest model railroad and model train show in New York City, with dozens of vendors offering new and used trains for sale, as well as parts, clothing, memorabilia, photography and accessories. The paid event will also include the history and artifacts of the railroad and a touring railroad for rides on the Empire State Plaza Concourse. Tickets are $ 7 for adults and free for children under 12.
• First Learn to Skate Clinic of the season presented by Highmark Blue Shield of northeast New York State and hosted by the Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club – December 11, 10 am to noon. Additional clinics will be offered on January 8, February 5 and March 5. Online pre-registration is required at empirestateplaza.ny.gov. Remember to dress the young skaters with warm clothes, hats, gloves and socks.
Ice rink information:
• Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday, weather permitting. Closed from 3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on weekdays and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends for maintenance. The ice rink will be open three Mondays: December 27, January 17 and February 21.
• Cost to skate: free
• Skate rental: $ 4 for adults, $ 3 for children 12 and under. Photo ID is required to rent skates. Every Saturday is Hannaford Free Skate Rental Saturday.
• Amenities: Lockers, skate rentals and refreshments are available in the glass pavilion adjacent to the rink. Children’s helmets and ice skates / coaches for beginner skaters are also available free of charge.
For updates on the condition of the rink and additional information on Winter at the Plaza events and activities, visit empirestateplaza.ny.gov, @EmpireStatePlaza on Facebook and @PlazaEvents on Twitter, or call (518) 474-4759. For event information, including parking, directions, and ground rules, visit empirestateplaza.ny.gov.
Sponsors for Winter at the Plaza events include Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern NY, Hannaford Supermarkets, MVP Health Care, I Love NY, Hudson Mohawk Figure Skating Club, CDTA, SEFCU, Stewart’s Shops, Times Union, PYX 106, 99.5 The River, 98.3 TRY, and News 10 ABC.