Central Park, Conservatory Water, ice skating race, published Manhattan Parks Dept. Annual Report, 1928. Courtesy of NYC Parks.
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but New York is already a winter wonderland. How do we know? The skating rinks are open. If you choose to glide through the holiday season on ice, taking a spin anywhere from Central Park to Coney Island, you’re sliding into a New York winter tradition that includes the nation’s first organized ice rink, a decade of “Icetravaganzas” that drew millions, a glittery trend of hotel ice gardens throughout midtown, and even the a relationship to origins of baseball. So lace up, and read on for a history of ice-skating in New York City.
Glide into this story!
Photo by subherwal on Flickr
As New York City’s many ice skating rinks start to open this month for the season, two Central Park arenas will debut a slightly updated look. The Trump Organization has removed President Donald Trump’s name from Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink, marking the first time the business has voluntarily distanced itself from its owner, according to the Washington Post. City officials told the newspaper that the president’s company informed them about the plan to remove the signage this past summer but provided no reason behind the change.
, Wed, September 12, 2018
Trump-run Wollman Rink via subherwal on Flickr
Although President Donald Trump continues to profit from his family-run business while serving in office, the New York-native is seeing a drop in revenue in his hometown. At four concessions in New York City run by the Trump Organization, sales have dropped or have been flat since Trump became president, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Even as tourism is on the rise and the city’s economy is bustling, business is not booming for two Trump-affiliated ice rinks, a Bronx golf course, and a carousel in Central Park.
More this way
Photo via Flickr cc
Though few would deny that Donald Trump enjoys placing himself in the spotlight, WNYC reports that the Republican presidential nominee has a history of claiming to save the day on public projects when it turns out that he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, and the city ended up holding the bag. Among his supporters, Trump has a reputation for stepping in to rescue abandoned city projects, a favorite example being Central Park’s Wollman Ice Rink. About thirty years ago, the rink had fallen into disrepair and had sat unused for six years due to the city’s inability to find the funds or move past the red tape involved in fixing it. Trump brought his “get it done” attitude to the project, offering to help fix the rink. In 1986, the city agreed to let him lend a hand. Though Trump completed the repairs on time and under budget, the rink repair job wasn’t the act of philanthropy–nor the ongoing financial bonus for the city–that the candidate claims it was.
So what’s the real story?
One of the most festive holiday activities doesn’t end at New Year’s, but rather lasts through the winter. Ice skating in NYC is a hot activity, with lines easily wrapping around the block at the Bryant Park Winter Village and Rockefeller Center’s ice rink. But this isn’t a new trend. Ice skating has long been a popular social pastime for New Yorkers, whether on a frozen pond in Central Park or at the Biltmore Ice Garden at the Biltmore Hotel. Plenty of historic photographs exist, documenting the transformation of the New York ice skater; so we’ve put together a timeline of this winter activity.
All the photos ahead