Prospect Park’s new ice rink is a winter fun-derland

December 24, 2013 Heather Chin
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Lace up your ice skates and get ready to embrace your inner child all winter long now that Prospect Park’s new Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside has just opened.

The 26-acre center features two permanent rinks—one covered, one uncovered, both outdoors with glorious views of the park’s tree line—as well as a café, rooftop dining, community space, picnic tables, lockers and changing rooms, 24-hour security and more, all situated right next to Prospect Park Lake, which can be toured via pedal boats and other water sport gear.

Designed to provide year-round recreational activity, the nearly 32,000 square feet of combined natural ice on the side-by-side rinks can be utilized as a roller-skating rink, outdoor concert space and water play space in warmer weather.

“After years of hard work, our dream to restore the southeast corner of the park into an accessible year-round destination for all New Yorkers that stays true to the original Olmsted and Vaux vision is finally here,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Emily Lloyd.

The Center cost nearly $75 million in public and private funds: around $54 million from the city and $20 million from private donors, foundations and corporations.

Built on the site of the 50-year-old Wollman Rink, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside expanded to include a rebuilt and restored Music Island, pedestrian pathways, open lawns, and a new promenade.

The LeFrak Center at Lakeside is also intended as a hub for non-skating winter fun, with regular family-friendly performances, workshops and other activities being planned every weekend.

December 21-22’s opening weekend alone included lessons in ice cream churning, origami-making and winter-themed arts and crafts, yoga, theater workshops and more. There were also ice golf and curling demonstrations, book readings, face painting, and live shows.

The center is open daily, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Access to the center is free. Access to the rinks cost $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends, and skate rentals cost $5 each for skates and optional helmets. Season passes are also available for students, individuals and families, and include discounts on skate school classes, private classes, skate sharpening, and food concessions.

Parking is currently limited to neighboring streets and five local parking garages, but the center will open its own parking lot in spring, 2014.

For more details, visit www.prospectpark.org.


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