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Skating in Wollman Rink in Central Park – Kent French

Skating in Wollman Rink in Central Park

by: Kent French

Situated in the heart of Manhattan at 59th Street and 6th Ave, the iconic Wollman Rink is the perfect place to…land flat on your butt.

I kid.

Wollman Rink is a must-try for both beginners and ice veterans during a trip to Manhattan in the winter. Like they say in New York, “if you can skate it here, you can skate it anywhere.”

Catering to residents and visitors alike, Wollman Rink has a rich history dating back to 1949. Kate Wollman (1870-1955) was the lone surviving member of a family known for supporting charitable causes, especially the welfare of children. She donated $600,000 towards the rink’s construction as a memorial to her parents and four brothers.

And what a memory this rink provides.

Where else on earth can you skate while being surrounded by the most famous skyline on this planet? Let me answer that: Nowhere.

"Where else on earth can you skate while being surrounded by the most famous skyline on this planet? Let me answer that: Nowhere."

There’s an energy on this rink that’s pure New York City. When you’re out on the ice, you feel less like a tourist and more like someone who’s experiencing this city on its terms. Even if you don’t skate, come and watch the crowds and enjoy the setting. You’ll see a whole different side of the city. Families, young professionals, models, and new citizens who don’t even like frozen water in their drinks—this is New York’s diversity on ice.

Speaking of ice, in a city where a stiff cocktail can run you $30, the $10 rental fee for skates is still a bargain.

Speaking of libations, once you’ve worked up a thirst out on the ice, there are several excellent watering holes within walking distance where you can warm yourself up.

Me, I’m a big fan of P.J. Carney’s Pub and its diverse crowd of hipsters, Wall Street types, and assorted Manhattan oddballs. Try their Mudslide or Chocolate Martini.

Just remember French’s number-one rule for ice skating and drinking is they should always fall in that exact order and never the reverse. That ice before imbibing helps you keep those falls onto your backside at a minimum.

But if you do happen to have a spill, Wollman Rink has its very own guardian angel—nurse Susan Fellman who has worked at the rink for over 25 years.

Some like to think of New Yorkers as hard and cold, but people like Susan and most everyone you meet at the rink prove the only cold, hard thing around these parts is this ice under those skates.

Until next time, friends.

KF