There are so many things to see and do in Central Park that you may not know where to start. One great place to begin is by taking Central Park bike tours around the park. Faster than walking, you’ll be able to see more in less time. One of the park’s oldest and most iconic attractions, the Wollman Rink is a must-see.
Wollman Rink: A Look Back
Central Park initially welcomed ice skaters in 1858. It was then known as “The Lake” and was, in fact, the first part of Central Park to be open to the public. When winter came and the lake froze over, people flocked there to skate. They also skated on the 59th Street Pond until both bodies of water were closed a hundred years later.
Thanks to a $600,000 gift from Kate Wollman, the Wollman Rink opened to take the place of the other ponds. The 33,000-square-foot rink opened in 1950. The socialite lived from 1869–1955 and contributed the funds in honor of her family who originated in Leavenworth, Kansas. Kate’s brother was the owner of the W.J. Wollman & Co. stock exchange from out of Kansas City and then New York City.
Wollman Rink is open for ice skating from October to April, and the location is used for other activities during the summer months. The popularity of ice skating and Central Park bike tours has made it a treasured tradition for both NYC residents and visitors.
A Scenic Destination
The setting of Wollman Rink makes it a romantic place either day or night. Surrounded by the NYC skyline, daytime affords unique views of the Big Apple, while a million twinkling city lights illuminate the nighttime skating. Wollman Rink has appeared in a number of movies, so may look familiar already, making it an ideal destination for your Central Park bike tours. A snack bar offers hot chocolate and a variety of treats for you to enjoy while taking a break and people watching.
In addition to being open to the public for ice skating, the Wollman Rink also offers ice skating lessons and a place to play hockey, and it is available for private birthday parties. It is even possible to reserve the entire rink for a romantic evening for two — now that’s the way to propose to your love!
More Recent History
In 1980, the rink had to close because it needed renovating. With a budget of $9.1 million and a timeline of two years, progress was very slow and filled with problems. Six years later, Donald Trump stepped in and persuaded the mayor to let him finish it. Four months and $3 million later, the rink was again open for ice skating.
Don’t forget to consider checking out this attraction on your Central Park bike tour.