With January 1 past us, there's plenty of outdoor and indoor ice in New York City if your New Year's resolution was to get involved in skating. Whether you're just starting out or continuing to skate throughout the year, below is a list of rinks that Manhattan offers.
- Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers offers the only indoor rink in NYC. There are two Olympic sized rinks that hold general sessions, freestyle sessions, hockey games, ice performances and competitions. Sky Rink has general public session hours seven days a week, but if you work from 9-5, you're pretty much stuck to skating the general sessions on the weekends, which run from 1 pm - 3:50 pm. From Monday to Friday, the public sessions start at 1:30 pm and end in the five o'clock hour, so the near empty ice is occupied by young children, retirees, and other lucky skaters who can take advantage of the time. I remember years ago when Sky Rink used to hold a few weeknight sessions for us working folks, but they gradually eliminated those when the hockey leagues took over. I've also skated a few of the early freestyle sessions (which are aplenty) so for the skating addict who lives and works in Manhattan, Sky Rink is a great place to have around. General admission is $10 - $12.50; skate rental is $7 (23rd Street and the Hudson River; 212.336.6100).
- The Rink at Rockefeller Center is where I skate during the outdoor season. The rink, open seven days a week, offers a season pass for $350 (which includes a locker) which allows unlimited access to the rink. Other perks of getting a season pass include the season pass exclusive session, no waiting on lines (ever) and a slight discount on lessons during the week. The rink closes for the season on April 13, 2008. Also, the last day that the Christmas Tree will be up and sparkling is January 8. General admission is $10-$14; skate rental is $8 (Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets; 212.332.7655).
- Wollman Rink in Central Park is a great place for a skating addict because they offer daily private early morning ice. For a $20 admission, you can skate from 6 am - 10 am before the rink opens to the public. For about $750, you can get unlimited access to these 6-10 am sessions. Don't be shocked! I know plenty of skating addicts who skate 5-7 times a week. For them, a mere $750 is a steal considering how often they skate and how much they would pay per session at another rink. You can also purchase a season pass for $275 which gives you access to the general public sessions only. General admission is $9.50-$12; skate rental is $5; no credit cards accepted (Central Park South at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue; 212.439.6900).
- Lasker Rink in Central Park calls itself Wollman's "elegant younger sibling" and it's a great rink to skate in especially if you live in the area. There are two rinks -- one for general skating and one for hockey games (see above). It's location definitely makes it a non-touristy rink (much further uptown than the others) and during the summertime, the rink converts into a pool for all to enjoy. General admission is $4.50; skate rental is $4.75 (North end of Central Park, near 110th Street and Lenox Avenue; 917.492.3857).
- The Pond at Bryant Park is the only rink in NYC that offers free admission. It's been giving Rockefeller Rink and Wollman Rink some competition since opening three years ago. The Pond also offers free lockers to store your shoes and other items so bring your lock. Be warned - their lockers are small so some people end up using the $7 bag check where you can store larger items in a laundry-sized bag. The Pond closes towards the end of January so there's a few weeks left to enjoy. Admission is free(!); skate rental is $10 (Sixth Avenue at 42nd Street; 866.221.5157).
- Riverbank State Park Rink is an outdoor rink that's partially covered overhead so even if it's lightly raining or snowing, you can still enjoy great skating. General admission is $4.50; skate rental is $3.50 (Hudson River at 145th Street; 212.694.3600).