Ice Skating In Central Park

Before there was a Wollman or Lasker Rink, people have been ice skating in Central Park since the 1860’s. Owning ice skates prior to that time was very expensive and were owned primarily by the wealthy. Even before Central Park was completed in the 1870’s, the area known as the “skating pond” on the original Greensward Plan (The Lake) was opened to the public. Once the “Skating Pond opened in the park, the cost of skates dropped to 25 cents and they then became available for all to rent, so everyone could enjoy the sport.

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More people visited the park in the winter, due to the novelty of ice skating, the first decade the Park opened, than during the summer months. There is the famous photo of ice skaters on the lake with the Dakota in the background from that time period that documents the popularity.

Prior to the construction of Wollman Rink, from the 1930’s to 1950, the parks department would create a temporary ice hockey area on the Pond located at the 59th street entrance when weather permitted. What most people do not realize, is that all of the bodies of water in Central Park are man made and can be drained or filled as necessary. Then and now, the water is connected to the City’s water system.. Each winter in order to ensure proper skating conditions, the Lake and the Pond were drained to a level to assist in the freezing of the ice each year. Wollman Rink is located on what was an area that was part of the Pond. Wollman Rink opened in 1950 and Lasker Rink opened in 1966. Grab your skates and go have some fun! Make sure to share your photos with us.

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