NYC Urban Legends
by Craig Bridger, 10/17/2012
Photo: Laura Miller
The Ice-Skaters of Central Park
If you see two women dressed in Victorian fashion on the ice in Central Park, call a ghost buster. S.E. Schlosser’s book Spooky New York explains the legend of the Central Park skaters like this: a young man takes his date ice-skating and sees two women in long dresses (one red, one purple), laughing and carving speedy figure eights. Suddenly, the woman in purple makes right for him. The story continues: "I realized that her feet were not touching the ice. And I could dimly make out the figures of other skaters right through her body." The woman skates right through him. Later, the young man discovers that his ghosts are rink regulars—the spectral sisters Rosetta and Janet Van der Voort. They lived in Manhattan, loved skating in the park and died months apart from each other in 1880. Their ghosts have been spotted skating in Central Park since World War I. There's just one problem with this story, says folklorist Libby Tucker: "Wollman Rink was built in 1949, not the 1800s." Anyone want to tell that to the Van der Voort sisters?