nyciceskating2015

NYC Ice Skating: Bryant Park and Beyond

Whether it’s under evergreens and starlight to practicing in a cool indoor rink in July, ice skating is one of the best free things to do in NYC today—and tomorrow. NYC ice skating is so much more than the few famous Manhattan rinks the world loves to visit during the holidays.

To give you a complete picture of the ice skating options available to you year-round, we’ve profiled these classic rinks, several only a few years old, lesser-known rinks throughout New York City, and the indoor rinks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island you never thought to visit in the summer. If what draws you to ice skating is the adrenaline-filled risk of sliding on thin ice, check out our fun guide to NYC’s (Surprisingly) Extreme Sports. If what draws you to the rink is the peaceful scene of families beneath a snowy sky, our gallery of Best Winter Pics of Central Park might be more your thing.

 

Casual Central Park ice skaters, 1894.

Casual Central Park ice skaters, 1894.

 

THE CLASSIC NYC ICE SKATING RINKS

 

Mention winter in New York, and a couple legendary rinks come to mind: Bryant Park, Rockefeller, and Central Park ice skating 2015 will likely be as magical and jam-packed as in 2014, 2013, 2012…

Ice skating in the city officially began in 1858. Women strapped their skates on under long dresses and men finished their winter outfits with bowler hats to celebrate the first winter that Central Park, with its skateable Lake, was open to the public.

 

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Countless thousands from New York and all over the world enjoy the iconic Bryant Park NYC Ice Skating Rink every year.

  • LOCATION: Midtown West – Theater District
  • WEBSITE: wintervillage.org
  • COST: Free
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Near Times Square and amid shops and cafes.
  • DOWNSIDE: While admission is free, skate and locker rentals run high: skate rentals are $14 and locks are $9.

 

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Possibly New York City’s most expensive, the rink at Rockefeller began as a temporary marketing ploy in the 1930s and accidentally became a tradition.

  • LOCATION: Midtown West – Rockefeller Plaza
  • WEBSITE: therinkatrockcenter.com
  • COST: $$$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: View of Rockefeller’s lights and tree.
  • DOWNSIDE: In addition to the high Rockefeller Center ice skating cost ($27-30 for adults, plus $12 skates), the rink is relatively small.

 

Wollman (Trump) Rink

Currently operated by the Trump organization, Wollman Rink Central Park has basically become Trump Rink Trump Towers.

  • LOCATION: Central Park
  • WEBSITE: wollmanskatingrink.com
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Featured in Love Story and Serendipity.
  • DOWNSIDE: Spectating will cost you $5.

 

 

NYC’S NEWBIE RINKS

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Looking for fun events in NYC today that you haven’t yet tried? These brand spanking new rinks in both Manhattan and Brooklyn are begging to be tried.

South Street Seaport’s See/Change Skating Rink

Kids 5 and under go free, and residents in the 10038 and 10005 get 50% off, at the 110-by-45’ rink connected to South Street Seaport’s new See/Change program.

  • LOCATION: Lower Manhattan – Financial District
  • WEBSITE: southstreetseaport.com
  • COST: $$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: $20 (including skate rental) basic skills classes.
  • DOWNSIDE: Barebones rink.

 

The Rink at Brookfield Place

Opened in 2013, this NYC ice skating rink was part of renovations at the swanky Brookfield Place.

  • LOCATION: Lower Manhattan – Battery Park City
  • WEBSITE: therinkatbrookfieldplacenyc.com
  • COST: $$$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Views of the Hudson.
  • DOWNSIDE: There’s no space for your belongings.

 

McCarren Park Ice Rink

Part of a $50 million renovation of the park’s recreational center, the ice rink was born in 2012. Bryant Park may be the most famous free ice skating NYC offers—but it’s not the only one!

  • LOCATION: Brooklyn
  • WEBSITE: nycgovparks.org
  • COST: Free
  • COOLEST FEATURE: The huge rink is a pool (nicknamed “The Beach”) in the summer.
  • DOWNSIDE: At 7,200 sq. feet, the rink is relatively small.

 

LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park

You can get your skates reconditioned and rent helmets or pads at this $74 million, two-rink skating complex offering 32,000 square feet for skating.

  • LOCATION: Brooklyn
  • WEBSITE: lakesideprospectpark.com
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Two rinks, 32,000 square feet for skating.
  • DOWNSIDE: Parking is difficult.

 

 

THE OPEN-AIR NYC ICE SKATING RINKS

 

The traditional ice skating rink is, of course, the seasonal, outdoor, open-air rink. While new rinks have been added to their number recently, the following rinks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Jersey City (for those commuters who love skating!) have been quietly rivalling the famous, tourist-heavy hotspots for quite some time.

 

Trump Lasker Rink

This rink just off the 110th St. entrance to Central Park, is home of the Ice Hockey in Harlem (HIH) nonprofit and boasts the cheapest non-free prices for skating in all New York City. Cash-only.

  • LOCATION: Manhattan – North Central Park
  • WEBSITE: laskerrink.com
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Homey, local feel.
  • DOWNSIDE: As at Trump’s other rink, spectators must pay to stay.

The Standard Hotel Ice Rink

Located under the High Line in the Meatpacking District, the little rink connected to the boutique hotel is open till midnight or 1 am.

  • LOCATION: Manhattan – Midtown West
  • WEBSITE: www.standardhotels.com
  • COST: $$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Open late and caters toward children.
  • DOWNSIDE: Very small rink.

Riverbank State Park Rink at Riverside

If ice skating in NYC seems expensive or over-crowded because of ice’s limited real estate, look no further!

  • LOCATION: Manhattan – Harlem
  • WEBSITE: parks.ny.gov
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Located in the park overlooking the Hudson with an Olympic-size pool, cultural theater, athletic complex with fitness room, and restaurant.
  • DOWNSIDE: Often reserves time for organized events—call ahead for public skate times (or to book your own event!).

Van Cortlandt Park Rink

Unfortunately, the Bronx’s star rink is closed for the 2014-2015 season.

  • LOCATION: Bronx
  • WEBSITE: vcpicerink.com
  • COST: N/A
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Never too crowded.
  • DOWNSIDE: Pricey for hockey.

Abe Stark Rink

Open during weekends and holidays for three hours per day, this rink is named after a much-loved Brooklyn borough president of the ‘50s and ‘60s and used to be a saltwater swimming pool.

  • LOCATION: Brooklyn
  • WEBSITE: nycgovparks.org
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: A community favorite named after “Mr. Brooklyn.”
  • DOWNSIDE: The rink is only open on weekends.

War Memorial Ice Skating Rink

Located at Clove Lakes Park, which boasts Staten Island’s largest living thing – a 300-year-old tulip tree – this rink is connected to a memorial commemorating World War II.

  • LOCATION: Staten Island
  • WEBSITE: nycgovparks.org
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Located amid Nature.
  • DOWNSIDE: The ice may be choppy.

 

Charlie Heger Pershing Field Ice Rink

This Jersey rink offers lessons for adults and children.

  • LOCATION: Jersey City
  • WEBSITE: jerseycitynj.gov/recreation
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Decently priced.
  • DOWNSIDE: Skate rentals and shoe swap may be poorly run.

Newport Skates

Newport Skates offers to host birthday parties catered by Morton Williams, cheap group parties, and 3-hour exclusive rink event rentals.

  • LOCATION: Jersey City
  • WEBSITE: newportskates.com
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Great for locals.
  • DOWNSIDE: Very small rink.

 

THE PERENNIAL NYC ICE SKATING RINKS

 

Except for New York fitness buffs who practice speed-skating in their free time and have scoped out every place they can get a cheap workout, people tend not to know about the indoor ice skating NYC residents have access to. Indoor rinks pepper Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and are open all year round.

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

Hockey and figure skating happen frequently at the two NHL-regulation rinks at Chelsea Piers, which are well-lit by natural light pouring in from over the Hudson.

  • LOCATION: Chelsea
  • WEBSITE: chelseapiers.com
  • COST: $$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: The ice is well maintained and the temperature well controlled.
  • DOWNSIDE: Very busy with kids, lessons, and parties after school.

Aviator Sports and Event Center

Park of New York’s largest sports and events center, the Aviator rink also contains indoor and outdoor fields, fitness centers, and food.

  • LOCATION: Brooklyn
  • WEBSITE: www.aviatorsports.com/public-skating
  • COST: $$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Great for lessons or day-long visits with the kids.
  • DOWNSIDE: The food is not gourmet quality.

 

City Ice Pavilion

Teams and figure skaters mostly utilize this LIC rink.

  • LOCATION: Long Island City
  • WEBSITE: http://cityicepavilion.com/public-skating
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Complex schedule favors teams and classes.
  • DOWNSIDE: A little difficult to find the nondescript building.

World Ice Arena

Another NHL-size rink, the World Ice Arena was built by the City in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and hosts competitions and ice dance/theater on ice lessons. Enjoy some NYC ice skating in Queens.

  • LOCATION: Queens
  • WEBSITE: worldice.com
  • COST: $
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Reasonably priced skate shop, food, rentals, and free parking.
  • DOWNSIDE: Lots of kids face-planting on the weekends.

 

Staten Island Skating Pavilion

Special events, like Neon Night in March, punctuate the weekend public skate schedule at The Pavilion.

  • LOCATION: Staten Island
  • WEBSITE: thepavilion.org
  • COST: $$
  • COOLEST FEATURE: Secure, well-lit, nice facility.
  • DOWNSIDE: Located in a run-down area with little parking.

 

RINK-LOVERS: NYC ICE SKATING GROUPS

 

If you’re thinking about what to do in NYC this weekend, but your friends are skate-phobic or don’t like to try new things, never fear! You can try these rinks with one of several social groups; just pick the one that matches you best. Or try them all! National-level figure skating creds not required to join.

This diverse, 700+ member group with great reviews has organized almost 300 events throughout the boroughs. You only need an interest in ice skating to join, not skills.

Packed with over 1,000 singles and other badminton and outdoor activity fans, this group frequents NYC parks facilities for free or cheap activities, including ice skating, walking, and tennis.

This membership-based group hosts some of the best, friendliest singles events in NYC today—though married “young professionals” make up part of the group too. Enjoy some NYC ice skating with new friends

 



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