The Urban Lens: The Museum of the City of New York looks back at NYC ice skating over the centuries

Posted On Fri, December 15, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, December 15, 2017 By In Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Skaters at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, 1935. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we take a look back at New York City’s ice skating history just days before the Museum of the City of New York’s “New York on Ice” exhibit opens to the public. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

There are few New York winter activities more iconic than ice skating. The rink, the blades, the gliding people attempting to balance – the elements of the pastime are minimal, and so the pictures of it over the centuries are not so very different despite the decades.

On view this Wednesday through April 2018, the Museum of the City of New York will be hosting an exhibit titled “New York on Ice: Skating in the City” featuring many of the images below of ice skating in NYC from the 1800s to the present day. In addition to paintings, postcards, and vintage photographs, the exhibit will also showcase costumes, posters, and more.

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Speed-skating race at The Lake, Central Park, ca. 1928. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Mayor John V. Lindsay and Commissioner Thomas Hoving at Lasker Rink and Pool, Central Park, 1966. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Photographer unknown. Wollman Rink, Central Park, ca. 1955. Museum of the City of New York, gift of the Department of Parks and Recreation

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Skaters at Lasker Rink, 1967. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Kate Wollman Memorial Rink at Prospect Park, 1961. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Flooded ballpark with skaters, Central Park, 1938. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Photographer unknown. Flooded ballpark with skaters, Central Park, 1938. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Tea Room – The Biltmore Ice Gardens, ca. 1915-1919. Byron Co.Museum of the City of New York, Byron Company Collection.

A tea room adjacent to the Ice Gardens at the Biltmore Hotel on Madison Avenue and 43rd Street. The ice skaters on the righthand side of the photograph are drawn in.

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
The Biltmore Ice Gardens, ca. 1915. Byron Co. Museum of the City of New York, Byron Company Collection

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Season ticket for admission to Fifth Avenue skating pond issued to Miss Isabel Place, 1863. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Miss Florence S. Sullivan

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
G. E. Jones, Publisher. Carnival of the Washington Skating Club, Brooklyn. February 10, 1862. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Mr. Harry Shaw Newman and an Anonymous Donor

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Major & Knapp Engraving, Manufacturing & Lithographic Co., printer. Empire City Skating Rink (63rd Street and 3rd Avenue), ca. 1868. Museum of the City of New York, The J. Clarence Davies Collection

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Thomas & Eno, lithographer. Union Pond, Williamsburgh, L.I., ca. 1863. Museum of the City of New York, The J. Clarence Davies Collection.

This hand-colored lithograph of Williamsburg’s Union Pond reminds us that, yes, Brooklyn is technically part of Long Island.

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Postcard of Thomas Healy’s Golden Glades, Ice Ballet Extravaganza and Midnight Parade, ca. 1916. Via MCNY, Collection of Michael V. Susi

Thomas Healy’s Golden Glades was a four-story restaurant at Columbus Avenue and West 66th Street, with two basement “dungeons.”

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
John O’Brien Inman “Moonlight Skating – Central Park – The Terrace and the Lake,” ca. 1878. Oil on canvas. Museum of the City of New York, Anonymous Gift

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Count Jean de Strelecki. Charlotte in “Hip! Hip! Hooray!” 1915. Museum of the City of New York, gift of Leonie Sigrist

In 1915, “Hip! Hip! Hooray!” was the hot new Broadway play, and its lead, shown above, was a 17-year-old skater billed only as Charlotte, according to IceStage Archive.

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Jake Forbes’s New York Americans sweater, 1925–26. Courtesy Hockey Hall of Fame

The New York Americans were a professional National Hockey League team formerly known as the Brooklyn Americans.

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York
Red Dutton’s skates, ca. 1930. Courtesy Hockey Hall of Fame.

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