Looking for a place to practice your figure eights in the middle of Manhattan? Well look no further than Wollman Rink, where tourists and natives alike can strap on the skates and hit the ice while taking in a great view of the surrounding city!
Here are some interesting and fun facts about this world class skating facility:
– Built in 1950 after Park officials decided to end ice skating at The Lake due to unsafe ice conditions for skaters and the annual winter migration of the intrusive and destructive Canadian ice fishermen.
– After a disastrous opening week where dozens of skaters suffered broken bones, concussions, and knocked out teeth, it was decided by rink benefactor Kate Wollman that separate times would be allotted for recreational skating and hockey games.
– At 33,000 square feet, Wolman rink was the largest body of ice in New York City until that distinction was passed on in 1986 to hotel magnate Leona Helmsley.
1958 – inebriated New York Yankees second baseman Billy Martin commandeered the rinks Zamboni and drove it around the ice for several minutes before crashing it into a snack bar. Martin then physically assaulted the machine before being dragged away by pitcher Whitey Ford.
January 1970 – Local skater Julia Babbitz showed off her signature skating move – a camel spin into a sit spin – to a young girl she met at the rink. That young girl was Dorothy Hamil, who stole that move (renaming it the Hamil Camel) and used it to rise to the top of the figure skating world at the 1976 Olympics.
February 20 1993 – A group of invited guests attended a workshop performance of Dinkins on Ice, a one man skating extravaganza written, choreographed and starring New York City Mayor David Dinkins. The show met with negative reviews and plans for a regional tour were scrapped a short time later.
March 2004 – The management of Wollman rink prohibits skaters from attempting to replicate any dangerous technique they’ve seen in an ice skating movie. This rule was passed after amateur pairs skater Glen Stewart snapped his partner in half while trying a “Pamchenko” from The Cutting Edge.