I've been getting a lot of inquiries about what happens to Rockefeller Rink during the summer. Does it turn into a roller skating rink? Is there ice year round? Do they just close down the area for the summer? I've been skating at Rockefeller Rink for over 15 years so I can answer this question. The rink converts to an outdoor cafe (see below).
There are two restaurants on either side of the rink - The Sea Grill (expensive) and Rock Center Cafe (less expensive). After the ice rink closes (early April), they each take half of the rink and set up tables, chairs, comfy sofas, etc. to accommodate the summer lunch and dinner crowd. If you're more inclined to enjoy the weather while just sipping a cool drink, part of the rink is also used for The Rink Bar. On a beautiful and sunny day like today, you'll see lots of umbrellas open at the tables. It's really nice to treat yourself to a lunch or dinner or a drink there, with Prometheus in the background. Although initially, when walking by the rink in July, us die-hard season passholders who skate there always lament that "Ahh! I practice my three turns at Table 6! No!!!!"
Well last week, I had an unexpected encounter with cast members from 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey (see above). I was taking some photos of the rink to share with you and there was a commotion with people rushing to the GE Building, which faces Rockefeller Rink. I asked a security guard, "What's happening?" And he answered, "They're filming 30 Rock so the actors are gonna come out." Ok, that's enough for me, so I started rushing over there too. By the time I got there, throngs of people in front of me, I'm only barely 5 feet tall, production assistants politely asking everyone to disperse, security guards inexplicably yelling at folks that we can only take pictures, no video, and then one of the huge lights fell into the crowd. Yikes, all this for a glimpse of Alec and Tina? Hey, but I managed to get a shot in and it's not too bad! I wonder if Tina Fey has a skating background -- those are great, skater calves.
Note: Rockefeller Rink is scheduled to open on Saturday, October 11, at 8:30 a.m.