Nov 4 2008

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Big Apple on ice: Best skating rinks in New York City

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New York hotels
By Samantha Chapnick

New York City is an excellent place to ice skate in November, December and April when temperatures typically range from 45 to 65 degrees but the rinks are already open.

Here’s our rundown of places to skate (one for free) on a New York vacation. All are either open now or will be open by mid-November, and they’re easy to get to from most New York hotels:

The hottest news in ice is the no-refrigeration-needed rink rumored to be coming to the American Museum of Natural History. No one quite knows, and the staff isn’t talkin’. So keep checking the blog until we are the first to post the lowdown, with photos, of course.

Wollman Rink, the perennial as-seen-in-movies Central Park rink. There are always long long lines here on weekends, but you can usually skate right in during school days, especially earlier in the day.

Lasker Rink. Bookending Wollman Rink, this one is at the very north end of the park at 110th Street. Quiet, tranquil, peaceful — how many other synonyms can we think of to describe the relative calm and ease of skating here? There is rarely a line, the ice is smoother (due to fewer skaters), and the attitude is just generally taken down a notch. My favorite Manhattan rink.

Chelsea Piers. The city’s only year-round skating rink is a delight. Large, indoors, few lines, courteous staff.

The Pond at Bryant Park. Ah, if only one could actually get into this rink. As Manhattan’s only free skating rink, and centrally located at that, it tends to be a mob scene with waits up to 2 hours on gorgeous weekend days. Go when school is in session or earlier in the day and you have a chance of a few hours of free skating.

Rockefeller Center. Need I say more?

Riverbank State Park Ice Rink. Quite possibly the most out of the way ice rink rewards with nice views of the Hudson a few steps away and very very few crowds.

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Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

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