By Jessica Allen
New York, despite its urbanity, has some of the world’s most famous ice skating rinks. Here are our five favorite spots to get your glide on.
Bryant Park Rink
Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets
New York, NY 10018
Free! Free! Free! This lovely rink in the center of Manhattan has much going for it: a beautiful location near the main branch of the New York Public Library, close proximity to food and drink, and absolutely no cost to skate. Check the calendar before you go, as the rink features a slew of fun events along with skate clinics for anyone who can’t tell the difference between a BiD and a BoD. You can rent skates for $20 a pair, and pay extra to reserve a spot on the rink.
Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10031
Rising 69 feet about the Hudson, Harlem’s Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park features swimming, playgrounds, an athletic center, and a theater. Ice skating too, with an indoor rink that’s often a little less crowded than some of the other spots on this list (or elsewhere in the city). Riverbank offers a skating club, ice hockey league, a spot to get your skates sharpened, and lessons. After you’ve finished, you can refuel at the nearby snack bar or on-site sit-down restaurant.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside
Enter at Parkside and Ocean Avenues
Boasting some 32,000 square feet of skating space, the LeFrak Center beckons in the summer, when you can rollerskate like nobody’s business, as well as in the winter, when you can ice skate your heart out. The little ones might enjoy special classes targeted just for them, or you can head over, strap on some rented skates, and do your thing on the ice. Hours are weather-dependent, but generally, the center is open from 9 to 5 p.m., with slightly later hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Fifth Ave between 49th and 50th Streets
New York, NY, 10020
Perhaps the most famous ice rink in New York City, the Rink at Rockefeller Center is popular for a reason: it’s a great place to skate. And to propose, as you’ll probably see if you spend more than 20 minutes watching or skating. An online ticketing system lets you reserve skate space in advance, which decreases the amount of time you’ll have to wait in the cold. It’s open every day from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., through April. Consider booking a package, which includes breakfast, afternoon tea, or dinner.
World Ice Arena
13135 Avery Ave.
Flushing, NY 11368
World Ice Arena not only lets you freestyle and figure skate, but also helps you bone up on your stick and puck work. Adults and kids can sign up for hockey lessons, and folks who are serious about skating can participate in the rink’s fitness and skating clinics. Other groups include the Flushing Meadows Speed Skating Club and Theatre on Ice, in which participants learn to perform a series of sequenced moves in a beautiful blend of dance and skating. See the website for schedules and info.