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The Daily Plant : Monday, November 22, 2010

The Air Is Crisp And It's Time To Skate!

Central Park’s Wollman Rink.
Daniel Avila

Thanksgiving is just days away, and for those looking to work off that extra slice of pecan pie, Parks offers public ice skating throughout the city. Ice skating at Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink goes into high gear this week as the holiday season kicks off.
Ice skating in Parks has a long history: before specially designed ice skating rinks were even built in the 20th century, skaters used ponds and lakes in parks for recreation. The Lake in Central Park, labeled on Olmsted and Vaux’s original Greensward plan as a “skating pond,” was the most notable case of this use. Before Central Park was completed in the 1870s, this section was opened to ice skaters and quickly became a top attraction. In order to ensure proper skating conditions, the Lake was drained to a level that eased the freezing of ice each year.


In Brooklyn, skating sites existed at McCarren Park, Prospect Park, Sunset Park, and Commodore Barry Park. In fact, ice skating was so popular in the 19th century that a tradition of “raising the red ball” on Brooklyn streetcars was created to indicate favorable skating conditions at Prospect Park.


According to the Brooklyn Parks Department annual report of 1920, the Prospect Park Boat House was converted to a Skate House and offered coffee and snacks in the winter. The same report indicates ice skates could be rented for 25 cents an hour. Skating spots likely existed at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island during this time period as well. The first facility devoted to ice skating was the New York City Building in Queens's Flushing Meadows Corona Park, originally constructed for the 1939-40 World’s Fair. The Flushing Meadows Corona Park rink became the first year-round skating facility in the park system and operated until its close in 2008.


Wollman Rink, located in the southern part of Central Park, opened in 1950. Wollman Rink offers 30,000 square feet of ice surrounded by a breathtaking view of the city. The ice skating landmark drew 160,000 people to the City’s largest outdoor rink last year, and is anticipated to attract equally large crowds this holiday season. It is located between 62nd and 63rd Streets. Lasker Rink, home of Central Park Ice Hockey and the Hawks, features public sessions, learn-to-skate lessons, and youth & adult hockey programs on two hockey rinks. It is located in the northern end of Central Park, overlooking the Harlem Meer, near the 110th Street and Lenox Avenue entrance. Both rinks are managed by the Trump Organization for NYC Parks.

“What could be better than gliding along the ice on a crisp winter day in one of the world’s most beautiful parks?” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Mayor Bloomberg has worked hard to encourage New Yorkers to get fit and stay active, and this is a perfect way to do both this holiday season and beyond. We thank Trump Organization for helping the City make it possible, and for providing a great fun way to work off those holiday calories in a spectacular setting.”

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink
Public Sessions at Wollman Rink begin at 10:00 a.m., seven days a week. Rental skates are available for both children and adults. Discount rates are available on weekdays for groups of 15 or more. Along with leisure, Wollman Rink also provides the largest United States Figure Skating (USFS) Basic Skills skating program in the country. Group and private lessons for skating and ice hockey are available.

Ice Skating at Lasker Rink
Lasker is home to Central Park Ice Hockey, public skating and skating schools. Central Park Ice Hockey is offered on two hockey rinks. Teams are co-ed and are based on skill level. Private Ice rentals are also available for hockey, events or just skating with friends and family. Lasker Rink is also host to Ice Hockey In Harlem (IHIH) a non-for-profit whose objectives are to combine classroom diligence with hockey, and to Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH), a pioneering not-for-profit organization that provides girls ages 6-18 with vital educational and skating opportunities.

Ice Skating at NYC Parks Rinks Citywide

Parks reminds visitors to never go on frozen waters, unless clearly marked otherwise with official signs, and children should never be left unattended near ice. If you witness someone falling through ice, never attempt to make a rescue by yourself. Call 911 and notify the proper authorities. The following facilities, however, are safe and open for public skating:

Brooklyn: Abe Stark Rink, Coney Island Boardwalk and West 19th Street. Prospect Park’s Wollman Rink is closed for the 2010-2011 season. Parks will break ground on Lakeside Center, which will replace and expand the existing site, on December 15.
Manhattan: In addition to Wollman and Lasker, Citi Pond at Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets at 6th Avenue.
Queens: World Ice Arena, Flushing Meadows Corona Park at Avery Avenue and 131st Street.
Staten Island: WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink, Clove Lakes Park, Victory Boulevard west of Clove Road.

To find a City ice skating rink near you, please visit www.nyc.gov/parks, keyword: ice skating, or call 311.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Lao Tzu
(6th-4th centuries BC)

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