Ice skating is easy: you strap on some skates, and just go. OK, OK, so maybe ice skating is harder than it sounds. At the rinks below, you'll join native and non-native New Yorkers as they glide, spin, jump, and, yes, even wipe out. By Jessica Allen.
Last year Brooklyn's Prospect Park opened its all-new skating center. The LeFrak Center boasts 32,000-square-feet of skating space: an outdoor rink that becomes a water playground come summer, and a covered rink that transforms into a roller rink in the off-season. It's free to enter the center and hang out on the viewing terrace, but skating will cost you $6 during the week and $8 on weekends/holidays.
One of the most popular rinks in the city, Central Park's Wollman Rink is also one of the prettiest, beloved by both tourists and locals. As you loop around, you can spy the Plaza, where Eloise once roamed, and other buildings along Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, in addition to the park's lush foliage. Don't be afraid if you don't quite know what to do: this rink, owned by the Trump family and therefore sometimes called Trump Rink, has one of the largest learn-to-skate schools in the U.S.
At World Ice Arena, you can figure-skate and freestyle, sure, but you can also learn to play hockey at one of the free 15-minute clinics offered on weekends in February and March, or join the Theatre on Ice group, in which skaters perform a series of sequenced moves. If that seems too tame, try Pedal to the Metal, a high-intensity 20-minute class led by U.S. National ice dance competitor Dmitriy Serebrenik that will help increase your endurance, edge quality, and stamina. This Queens rink doesn't mess around.
So, the name—WWII Veterans War Memorial Ice Skating Rink—is a bit of a mouthful. And, depending on where you are, the trip there can be a bit of a trek. But Clove Lakes Park is a Forever Wild site, meaning that many of its 131 acres aren't landscaped but are instead allowed to grow and be as they are (within reason, and minus manicured paths). You won't believe you're still in New York City. Note: due to construction, the rink doesn't have a set schedule. Call before you go.
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