Ice skating is easy: you strap on some skates, and just go. OK, OK, so maybe ice skating is harder than it sounds. At the rinks below, you’ll join native and non-native New Yorkers as they glide, spin, jump, and, yes, even wipe out. By Jessica Allen.
This year Brooklyn’s Prospect Park opened its all-new skating center. The LeFrak Center boasts 32,000 square feet of skating space: an outdoor rink that will become a water playground come summer, and a covered rink that will transform into a roller rink in the off-season. It’s free to enter the center and hang out on the viewing terrace, but skating will cost you $6 during the week and $8 on weekends/holidays. Kids 12 and under skate free on Monday afternoons.
Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink
Run by the same folks as World Ice Arena (see below), in Queens, the Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink is the Bronx’s only ice skating rink. You can learn to skate at the on-site skating school, or your kids can learn to play hockey with the Future Rangers program (there’s even an “open hockey” session for serious folks age 18 and over), or everyone can just do his or her own thing seven days a week. Don’t have skates? Don’t worry: you can’t rent a pair for just $5.
One of the most popular rinks in the city, Central Park’s Wollman Rink is also one of the prettiest, beloved by both tourists and locals. As you loop around, you can spy the Plaza, where Eloise once roamed, and other buildings along Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, in addition to the park’s lush foliage. Don’t be afraid if you don’t quite know what to do: this rink, owned by the Trump family and therefore sometimes called Trump Rink, has one of the largest learn-to-skate schools in the U.S.
World Ice Arena
At World Ice Arena, you can figure-skate and freestyle, sure, but you can also learn to play hockey at one of the free 15-minute clinics offered on weekends in January, February, and March, or join the Theatre on Ice group, in which skaters perform a series of sequenced moves. If that seems too tame, try Pedal to the Metal, a high-intensity 20-minute class led by U.S. National ice dance competitor Dmitriy Serebrenik that will help increase your endurance, edge quality, and stamina. This Queens rink doesn’t mess around.
WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink
So, the name—WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink—is a bit of a mouthful. And, depending on where you are, the trip there can be a bit of a trek. But Clove Lakes Park is a Forever Wild site, meaning that many of its 131 acres aren’t landscaped but are instead allowed to grow and be as they are (within reason, and minus manicured paths). You won’t believe you’re still in New York City. Note: due to construction, the rink doesn’t have a set schedule. Call before you go.