Bronx community welcomes first ice rink

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The Bronx opened its first public ice skating rink on Nov. 19 after decades of being the only borough in New York City without a public rink.

Two years after Mayor Bloomberg promised the borough its own slippery playground, the Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink opened on 242 Street and Broadway next to the Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street stop on the 1 train.

The ice skating rink was slated to debut last year but was delayed because of power and construction issues.

“We were hoping to have the rink open last fall, but the complexity of bringing the power necessary to operate the rink’s

chillers and installing underground utilities took more time than expected,” said New York City Parks spokesperson Zachary Feder.

Ekstein Development LLC and RD Management LLC worked with Van Cortlandt Park to build the ice skating rink. Additionally, Bryant Park Corporation donated $120,000 for the rink setup, Feder said.

Feder said Van Cortlandt Park is sure to attract many skaters because it intersects a high-traffic area.

“Many bus lines that serve the Bronx and Yonkers stop there, the [number] 1 train ends there and it’s near several Metro North Lines,” he said. “There is also strong community support of a rink in this location.”

NYU students who live in the Bronx are hopeful about the impact the skating rink will have on the community.

“I think that having our own skating rink would allow the community to connect even more,” Bronx resident and CAS sophomore Luisa Valencia said. “I do think that the skating rink will allow the Bronx to lose this [bad] reputation and improve its economy.”

Steinhardt sophomore Gisell Firpo, who lives near the recently installed rink, is excited about the new rink’s low prices.

“So far, it has been embraced by the neighborhood, and pretty soon I’m sure the attendance rate will increase as more people begin to hear about it,” Firpo said. “It’s pretty exciting to finally have an ice skating rink so close to home, and [one] that is at a reasonable price.”

Meanwhile, others feel the investment should have been utilized to strengthen other resources in the community.

“I’m not sure how long or loud [of] an outcry has been about the Bronx not having an ice skating rink, but personally I don’t see any need for it,” said Talia Delgado, a graduate student in NYU Silver School of Social Work.

“The Bronx needs that money for more important things, such as cleaning up the South Bronx and funding for schools,” she added.

The rink is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink charges $5 for admission during the week and $8 during holidays and weekends. Skaters can rent a pair of ice skates for $5 and use lockers for 75 cents. Skating and hockey lessons began this week for $80, and a separate registration fee during weekday afternoons and weekend mornings.

The ice skating rink will be open until March 30.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 28 print edition. Tanay Hudson is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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