Shall we skate?


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Wollman Rink. Photo: Alexandre Breveglieri, via flickr



Remember all those wistful childish wishes? Choices were endless; boys wanted to be firemen, policemen, astronauts and cowboys, and girls wanted to be mommies, movie stars and ballerinas. I wanted to be an ice skating star. Actually, my parents named me for an international figure skater popular when I was born, Melitta Brunner, but I don’t believe the name penetrated my thought processes at the time. I did a lot of skating through the years, but the likes of Sonia Henie and Meryl Davis (a brilliant and beautiful American ice dancer) eluded me, and so I resigned myself to watching as many ice capades and competitions as possible.

Here in Manhattan we have scenic Rockefeller Plaza and Wollman Rink in Central Park, as well an enclosed skating rink on Manhattan’s West Side by Hudson River. These are all wonderful places to let your feet fly over ice as you circle the rink. If you even have a bit of an ability to stay steady and feel secure, the ice will be your friend and allow you to let your body relax as you skate. It is a truly great pleasure to skate alone or hold hands with another person.

Wollman lies on a valley as you enter from Central Park South. In a few minutes you descend and the whiteness of the ice appears and then the wooden enclosures with all the amenities you need for a happy time — shoe rentals, food court, lockers and benches.

It’s a little Switzerland in our Big Apple. It’s easy to forget and overlook, but it’s a hidden gem. Watching all the little eager kids make their way around and around, plopping on the ice on unsteady feet (when you are small falling is fun) as well people way over middle age in great shape traversing the ice makes me wish I had those beautiful white skates of my youth.

At least I have the wonderful pleasure of watching greats perform in person or via satellite. I can turn on YouTube, where I can revisit any Olympic exhibition I missed and catch segments of skating greats, like Britain’s Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean do their 1984 rendition of “Bolero,” one of the legendary pair-skating feats. Great dramas played out on the ice, dangerous stunts which sometimes led to tragic accidents as well as world success.

It’s all very exciting, but at this moment I love watching the junior members of the Wollman Rink perform their solos to music and twirl and jump and maybe climb a little closer on the ladder to fame.

The work of a skater is hard and unbending, and there is great personal sacrifice, but if you feel that fire, go for it and don’t give up. You may catch me in the crowd cheering.



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

Image Dishing it out at the Vendys
Godshelter and Bisola Oluwalogbon, who serve West African fare, took top honors in the food truck competition
Image The big bike-lane boom
Spurred by several recent tragedies and demands from advocates and elected officials, City Hall may expand bicycle infrastructure to include more east-west streets, not just...
Image Yorkville after the subway
Even after the opening of the Second Avenue line, Yorkville’s aura of affordability remains — but for how long?
Image DACA: a personal perspective

A longtime community leader on his involvement with an East Harlem group devoted to helping Latino immigrants

By Stephan Russo

In February I...

Image Powers wins East Side council primary
Keith Powers emerged as the winner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for the District 4 city council seat, finishing atop a crowded field of candidates to replace...

VIDEOS



Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters


MOST READ

Local News
Dishing it out at the Vendys
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
Steeped in tradition
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
Carnivores, rejoice!
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
Graduating seniors
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
Circus in the park rekindles tensions
  • Sep 12, 2017
Local News
DACA: a personal perspective
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
Making their Maarkah
  • Sep 13, 2017
Local News
The big bike-lane boom
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
You go, girl
  • Sep 20, 2017

MOST COMMENTED