NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Central Park


Tuesday, January 16, 2018
No. 2

NYC Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers Trained Annually to Respond to Ice Rescues

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined FDNY’s Manhattan Assistant Chief Roger Sakowich and FDNY EMS’ Manhattan Deputy Chief Paul Miano to convey the importance of parkgoers not venturing onto park waterbodies assumed frozen this time of year.

“No matter how beautiful the ice may look, it can be extremely dangerous. That’s why we’re telling New Yorkers never to go out onto the ice without permission,” said Commissioner Silver. “Be smart: Don’t risk your life for a selfie on the ice.”

"For their safety, and the safety of all first responders who perform difficult rescue operations, I urge all New Yorkers to stay off of lakes, ponds, and waterways in our city that may appear to be frozen," said Fire Commissioner Daniel A.Nigro.
"Though they look frozen solid, they are anything but. Venturing on them is dangerous and potentially deadly."

“Falling through the ice can cause hypothermia, a drop in your body temperature to a dangerously low level, in a matter of minutes,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Stay safe – never walk onto a frozen pond or lake.”

Parks Enforcement Patrol demonstrated the seriousness of the Commissioner’s message by opening part of its annual ice safety training session to the press. Twenty five PEP officers participated in the training, some going through it for the first time, and others taking a refresher course. The two-part training, part lecture and part on-ice, included instruction on how to assess dangers, ice thickness and identify hypothermia, and how to utilize ice ladders, picks, and the human chain to execute various ice rescue techniques.

There are 96 ponds and lakes in parks across the city. To remind New Yorkers of the dangers of thin ice, NYC Parks posts warning signs along the waterbody perimeters. Additionally, for trained personnel use only, special ladders are installed around the edges in the event of an emergency.

• Never go on waterbodies that appear frozen.
• Parents and caregivers should make sure children are never unattended near ice.
• If you hear cracking, lie down immediately to try to distribute your weight.
• If you witness someone falling through ice, never attempt to make a rescue by yourself: call 911 and notify the proper authorities. Be sure to give the exact location and an account of the incident.

For ice skating in New York City parks, checkout NYC Parks’ website for our list of seven Parks’ rinks.

Directions to Central Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 3 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkCentral Park

Raccoons in Central Park have tested positive for canine distemper virus. Although the virus cannot be transmitted to humans, it may be transmitted to dogs. Keep your pets safe in the park.

Please avoid wildlife and make sure your pets have up-to-date distemper and rabies vaccines. Keep your pet on a leash, especially during dawn and dusk.

Please call 311 or notify an on-site Parks employee if you see a sick or injured animal.

If you are bitten, wash the wound with soap and water immediately. Call your doctor to see if you need tetanus or rabies shots, and call 311 to report the bite.

The Health Department will continue to monitor this condition.

Anticipated Completion: Summer 2018

Nature CentersBelvedere Castle Visitor Center

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The castle will reopen to the public in 2019. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Central Park, please call (212) 360-1444.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The surrounding plaza and terrace remain open, but will also close in the coming weeks. The Belvedere will reopen to the public in 2019. For more information on the restoration of Belvedere Castle, please visit Central Park Conservancy's website.

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