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The Joy of Going in Circles


The Skating Rink at Riverbank State Park
679 Riverside Dr., at 145th St.; 212-694-3642

Open: Mon. and Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fri. 6 to 9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
The Scene: Far removed from the tourist circuses of Central Park and Rock Center, the State-run covered rink is a well-kept secret among Harlemites. The rink is similar in size to the Pond at Bryant Park but comparatively empty, even at peak hours, and the ice is kept in good shape. There are bleachers for resting and gorgeous views from the park’s River Room restaurant.
Verdict: Spacious and well maintained yet underutilized.

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
Pier 61, 23rd St. at the Hudson River; 212-336-6100

Open: Daily (hours vary).
The Scene: Wintry charm, no. But it’s warm inside, and there’s ample seating if you’re shepherding a kids’ party. Music is inoffensive Top 40.
Note: The ice can get very rowdy with young learners. Locker rooms are open only to Chelsea Piers members, but you can use one of the coin lockers (75 cents).
Verdict: Not nearly as idyllic as some of the city’s outdoor rinks but good for birthday parties.

City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32nd Pl., nr. 47th Ave., Long Island City; 718-706-6667
ADULT ADMISSION: $5 M.–F.; $8 Sat.–Sun.
KID'S ADMISSION: $5 M.–F.; $8 Sat.–Sun.

Open: Mon. and Thurs. 2 to 3:50 p.m.; Tues., Wed., and Fri. 2 to 5:20 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. noon to 2:50 p.m.
The Scene: A brand-new (tentative opening January 17) bubble dome keeps the weather out and the heat in for both hockey leagues and public skating—and gives the impression of skating inside a giant marshmallow. For hockey moms and dads, there are bleachers with plenty of seating, locker rooms on the floor below, and a concession stand serving sandwiches and drinks.
Note: Convenient for drivers—the rooftop rink sits on a parking structure. It’s also three blocks from the 33rd Street stop on the 7 train.
Verdict: A boon to rink-starved Queens, but indoor skating can’t compare with fresh air.

Trump Lasker Rink
Central Park N. nr. Lenox Ave. entrance 917-492-3857

Open: Daily (hours vary).
The Scene: A pair of smallish oval outdoor rinks in the northern end of Central Park is split between hockey players and skaters. The blaring music (either jazz or pop hits) can wear on you, but the view over the Harlem Meer is soothing. The ice can get rough and rutted, especially near the boards.
Note: Like the other Trump rink, this is a cash-only operation. Lockers are free, but locks to secure them are $7.25 ($4 of which is a deposit).
Verdict: Less hectic than Central Park’s other rink, but circuits around the small oval can get monotonous.

Wollman Rink in Prospect Park
Lincoln Rd. at Ocean Ave., Flatbush 718-287-6431

Open: Daily (hours vary).
The Scene: A huge, 26,600-square-foot rectangle of smooth ice in which you can show off your triple Salchows or cling desperately to the boards. The surrounding thicket of trees and view over Prospect Park Lake can lull you into believing you’re on a pond in the Berkshires. Weekends and evenings can get crowded, but never like Central Park crowded, and on weekdays the ice is nearly empty. Stop for warm-ups, and keep an eye on the ice in the window-lined locker area. Kate’s Corner concession stand has hot chocolate and churros as well as emergency socks and gloves near the rental area.
Note: Cash only. Lockers are available, but you’ll have to bring your own lock.
Verdict: All the benefits of skating on a pond in the woods without the dangerously thin ice.


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