As many of you know, I have been playing ice and roller hockey for years, however you don’t have to be a hockey player to enjoy ice skating. In Manhattan, ice skating has been a popular sport since the mid 1800s when there were very few residents north of 23rd Street. Shortly after the Central Park lake was filled in 1858, the first uptown skating rink was opened and everyone, rich and poor alike, came out in droves to enjoy the ice. When the ice thickened to four inches, a red flag was hung to signal that the ice was suitable for skating, and downtown trollies hoisted a red ball high on their poles to signal favorable skating conditions. This great January Curbed article by urban historian, Rebecca Dalzell gives a rich history of NYC ice skating and says that the skating rink was the only place single men and women could go without a chaperone to find a potential match.
At the time, it was a racy sight to see a glimpse of a woman’s ankle or foot as she put on her ice skates. I wonder what those skaters would think of Paper Magazine today.
Times have changed but skating is still a fun winter pastime and there are now many more options for skating in NYC. Below is a list of all currently operating NYC ice skating rinks. Click on the link for details about each ice skating rink.
Open through February
The Rink at Winter Village in Bryant Park (closes March 1)
Open through March
Open through April
Open All Year