CENTRAL PARK IS OPEN FOR SKATING
The license to operate Wollman and Lasker Rinks has been awarded to Wollman Rink Operations, LLC, a partnership between the Trump Organization and the Rink Management Services Corporation.
On Thursday, an unusually warm December day, Mayor Rudolph (Eagle) Giuliani and Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern announced the rink’s new operators. Donald (Tower) Trump, President of the Trump Organization and Cristyne (Chanticleer) L. Nicholas, President of NYC & Company were also there to celebrate, and Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill was one of several figure skaters to perform. The LLC has promised to complete $4 million in renovations to the two rinks and to continue the tradition of public skating established in Central Park 143 years ago.
In Central Park, New Yorkers fell in love with ice-skating. In the winter of 1858, they enjoyed their first season on the ice. The lake was packed with skaters of all ages, men and women mixed together, and amateurs and pros of different backgrounds shared the ice. In the next two decades, more New Yorkers would visit Central Park during winter than in any other season.
At the height of the ice-skating craze, red flags would fly at the edge of the Central Park Pond and Lake, and red balls attached to downtown trolleys would announce to commuters that the ice was open. To accommodate twentieth-century weather, Robert Moses built Wollman Rink in 1949. In its first year, it was visited by 300,000 skaters. In 1966 Lasker Pool and Rink, the only convertible facility of its kind, greeted its first visitors.
RARE BIRD ALERT!
WEST COAST CALLIOPES RESIDING IN FORT TRYON PARK
Humans aren’t the only species confused by this unseasonably warm weather. In Fort Tryon Park, the Blue Majesty Salvia, a four-foot sapphire flower is in bloom. And two calliope hummingbirds, west coast natives, have been sighted for the first time ever in New York State. The calliope, the smallest North American bird, typically resides in California and occasionally travels as far east as Nevada. Since November 18, two of them have been living in Fort Tryon Park, feeding on the nectar of the blue majesty salvia.
New York’s birders are enjoying the show. Each day, dozens of them set up camp along the promenade. They come with binoculars and telescopic lenses to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime sighting. The calliopes have been listed on a special hotline, a special feature that allows birders to fill their life lists of birds seen. The park’s frequent patron, the ruby-throated hummingbird has left for the season, leaving the calliope’s and birders with the park to themselves.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Tuesday, December 20, 1988)
PARKS CELEBRATES CENTENNIAL OF ROBERT MOSES’ BIRTH
Robert Moses was New York’s master builder and first Commissioner of the unified, citywide Parks Department. Sunday, December 18 marked the 100th anniversary of his birth.
To celebrate the centennial, Mayor Edward I. Koch joined public servants of the past and present for a chowder party in the Parks Department’s Arsenal headquarters.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Even in America, the Indian summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone-but never hustled."
Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)