New York Skate of Mind
Outdoors & Recreation
by Heather Liang, 09/21/2012
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Winter just isn't winter without ice-skating in New York City. And though most of us can probably name two or three rinks off the top of our heads, there are 12 facilities open for public ice-skating this holiday season throughout the City. (The famous Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park is currently undergoing renovations and is closed for the 2012–2013 season.) The most well-known of the City's rinks is without a doubt The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center. Millions of visitors plan trips to the City every year just to catch a glimpse of skaters taking a spin on the ice below the famous Christmas tree and gilded statue of Prometheus, and others will wait in long lines to experience it for themselves. Surrounded by famous restaurants, shops and landmarks, Rockefeller Center provides the quintessential NYC skating experience.
The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center opens October 13, and admission at the rink varies throughout the season. Between October 13 and November 8, adults pay $20 and children under 11 and seniors are $12. Between November 9, 2012, and January 7, 2013, adults are $25 and children and seniors are $15. Admission fees for January 8, 2013 through April 2013 are $20 for adults and $12 for kids and seniors. Skate rentals are $10 throughout the season.
If Rockefeller Center gets too crowded, you can visit one of the many other rinks in Manhattan. Walk several blocks south and you'll hit Citi Pond at Bryant Park, the most affordable rink in all of New York City (if you already own a pair of skates)—admission is free. The rink is centrally located, off Sixth Avenue between West 40th and West 42nd Streets, and Bryant Park also hosts annual holiday shops if you want to cross some gifts off your list after your turn around the ice. Citi Pond at Bryant Park opens for the season October 26, 2012, and closes March 3, 2013. Skate rental is $14.
Few rinks can match the ambience of Central Park's Wollman Rink, located inside the park between West 62nd and West 63rd Streets, especially after a fresh snowfall. The rink opens October 20, 2012 and closes in late April 2013. For adults, admission is $11 (Monday through Thursday) or $17 (Friday through Sunday); for kids ages 11 and under, it's $6 each day; and seniors are $5 (Monday through Thursday) or $9 (Friday through Sunday). Skate rental is $7 for everyone, all days. Farther north in Central Park is Lasker Rink, between West 106th and West 108th Streets. Lasker Rink opens October 27, 2012 and closes March 24, 2013; admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Skate rental is $6. If you get the chance to skate at Wollman or Lasker Rinks at night, be sure to look up for some New York City stargazing opportunities.
Even farther north, in the Hamilton Heights section of the City, is The Ice Rink at Riverbank State Park. Riverbank, along Henry Hudson Parkway between West 138th and West 145th Streets, is the only state park in Manhattan, and it offers incredible river views across to New Jersey and gorgeous vistas of the George Washington Bridge. Its rink is open for public ice-skating from November 2012 through March 2013. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children; skate rental is $6. Check the Riverbank State Park website for further information.
For those who prefer to skate downtown, the enormous Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers offers ice-skating year-round (just in case the mood should strike you in mid-July). Admission is $10 for adults and children; skate rental is $5. Also downtown, The Standard hotel in the Meatpacking District once again plans to open its ground-level rink that is available to the public. The rink will likely open in 2013; exact dates are to be determined. Visit standardculture.com for updated information as the cold weather approaches.
In Queens, the World Ice Arena in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park is open year-round. Skating is $5 on weekdays; $8 on weekends and holidays. Skate rental is $5. Long Island City, meanwhile, is home to City Ice Pavilion, a facility offering the only rooftop ice-skating in New York City. Admission is $5 Monday to Friday, and $8 on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Skate rental is $5. Public skating hours are limited due to skating classes and league play, so call the facility for more detailed information.
If you're headed to Brooklyn, you'll have two skating rinks to choose from, each boasting its own incredible environment. Already missing the beach? Take a trip to Abe Stark Rink, located along the Coney Island Boardwalk. Abe Stark Rink is open for public skating on weekends and holidays only, October 2012 to March 2013; admission is $8 and skate rental is $5. Your other option is to take a trip to the Aviator Sports and Events Center at Floyd Bennett Field for indoor ice-skating year-round, where you can rest up in the sports lounge before or after your skate. Adult skating is $9, children skate for $7 and skate rental is $5.
Last but certainly not least, Staten Island is home to the Staten Island War Memorial Ice Skating Rink, located in Clove Lakes Park. This rink is encased within a huge heated white bubble, similar to that of enclosed tennis courts. The rink is open October 2012 to March 2013, and admission is $8 and skate rental is $5.
In addition to public skating, many of the above rinks offer skating lessons, group rates and private-party bookings. Some even have their own hockey leagues, with open enrollment. So now that you have the scoop, it's time to lace up your skates and go have some winter fun!