Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Into Autumn, Part III

It’s once again that time of year to lace up your skates and head out to the rink. This week marks the opening of a number of rinks throughout the city for you to take a spin on. And while you’re at it, why not learn a little bit of the history behind these famous rinks.

World’s Fair Skating Rink – Located in Queens, this ice rink was constructed for the 1939-40 World ’s Fair, and became the first year-round skating facility in the park system.

Abe Stark Rink –Abe Stark named this Coney Island rink after himself when he became a pseudo-celebrity for his sign in Ebbet’s Field (home of the Brooklyn Dodger’s) advertising “Hit Sign, Win Suit. Abe Stark. Brooklyn's Leading Clothier.” Only one suit was ever awarded.

The Pond at Bryant Park – The newest rink on the scene, this Manhattan rink constructed in 2005 welcomes free ice skating. Surrounding the rink is a free standing holiday marketplace modeled after Europe's Christkindlmarkts.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center – More renowned than the Rink itself, Paul Manship’s highly recognizable bronze guilded statue is displayed prominently over The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Featuring the Greek Titan Prometheus, some sources site it as the fourth-most familiar statue in the United States, behind the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty. Manship was not particularly fond of it.

Wollman Rink – Perhaps the most famous of city rinks, Wollman Rink was opened in Central Park in 1949, thanks to a $600,000 donation by Kate Wollman. Now owned by the Trump Organization, the rinks official name, Trump Wollman Rink, welcomes nearly 4,000 visitors a day.

Fun Fact: Before Central Park was constructed in the 1870’s, city dwellers would skate on the famous Lake, which was drained to lower levels so no one would crack the ice.

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