New York City is home to spectacular architecture and a breathtaking city skyline. However, there’s a hidden place that rocks almost every New Yorker’s winter holiday plans; New York’s Rockefeller Center. You can find this 122 feet long and 59 feet wide plaza with a golden Prometheus statue erected at the center between 48th and 51st streets in Manhattan.
This famous rink has been a source of joy for tourists and locals, drawing over 150,000 skaters annually. You can only describe the thrill of gliding across the icy surface underneath the Rockefeller Christmas tree as magical. Whether you go with your friends, family or that special someone, you’re bound to have a wonderful time. Keep reading to learn about the rink’s history at Rockefeller Center.
For the Love of Ice Skating
New Yorkers’ passion for ice skating extends back two hundred years ago. Back then, people needed a frozen pond or the lake in Central Park. Therefore, they used to drain the lake to make it easy to freeze. Once the lake was ready for skating, a bell tower close to the lake would raise a flag with an image of a red ball. The banner would usher in the beginning of a new skating season and continue a tradition deeply rooted in centuries of history.
When was the Ice Rink Built?
This magnificent rink did not start as a well-thought-out plan but as a last-minute idea. The Rink at Rockefeller Center is named after John D. Rockefeller, an American business magnate who began constructing his “city within a city” a year after the stock market crash in 1930. The center was open to the public three years later on Christmas day. Mr. Rockefeller found it challenging to bring his tenants to the sunken plaza to shop.
Fortunately, a skate salesman gave him the idea to set up a rink after seeing a skate salesman skating on the frozen Rockefeller Plaza fountain. The salesman inspired John D. Rockefeller to build a proper skating rink after discovering a better system of producing ice for the rink construction.
Rockefeller initially intended to make this rink a temporary exhibit to promote sales, but New Yorkers instantly fell in love with it. It soon became one of the city’s biggest attractions and improved sales.
The Rise of the Rink
The skating rink at the Rockefeller Center has become a popular destination since opening its doors to the public. It has hosted many celebrities, including Sonja Henie, a Norwegian actress, and figure skater. Other celebrities that have visited the iconic skating rink include Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis, Serena Williams, and Truman Capote, among others. Senator Robert F. Kennedy also fell in love with the skating rink when he and his wife began hosting an annual ice-skating party in the 70s.
It has also been a location for TV shows like Your Hit Parade, which was televised from the center. Other shows, such as the comedy sketch show Saturday night live, have been shot at the center since 1975. The skating rink has also served as a film site for some of the most famous movies like Home Alone 2, Elf, and Disney’s Hawkeye Series.
Special Events at the Rink
The skating rink opens its doors to skating enthusiasts from 8:30 am but only admits 150 people at a time. You need a general ticket to be granted passage to the ice rink at a particular time. You could also become a member, which allows access to the skating rink all season and various events. There are even private skating lessons for those with rusty skating skills.
The skating rink at the Rockefeller Center is a perfect venue to celebrate your anniversary, pop the question, or any other private event you may have. Whichever occasion you choose to hold on to this rink, you’re guaranteed good memories that will last forever.
Roller Rink at the Rockefeller Center
The skating season at the Rockefeller Center starts on November 5th and lasts until April. However, the Rockefeller Center recently converted the ice rink into a roller rink for the first time in over seventy years.
Thanks to Flippers Roller Boogie Palace, tourists and locals will have another excuse to visit the Rockefeller Center from April to October. The brand has also promised a fun-filled lineup of activities that include family events and live music.
Shop, Dine, and Relax at Rockefeller Centre
Besides the ice-skating rink, Rockefeller Center is home to numerous shopping stores. They are guaranteed to offer you a fun, world-class shopping experience. Some shopping options include bath, health, beauty, jewelry, and activewear. There’s even a LEGO store on 636 fifth avenue with many kids’ choices to browse. From internationally known brands like Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors to toys and confectionery, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for and more.
Once you’re done shopping, dine at the most exquisite restaurants that Rockefeller Centre offers. The dining options will leave you split for choice and bring you back for more. The center also has amenities like a salon or barber services that will leave you looking elegant.
Tips for a Fun Time at the Rink
If you’re considering the skating rink at Rockefeller Center for a holiday, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your visit.
The best way to beat the long wait in lines is to make reservations online. Due to its popularity, the lines to the skating rink can become excessively long, making you wait longer to skate.
Show up on weekdays before 4:pm since the skating rink tends to be less crowded. If you’d like to see its lighting, show up from 10 pm when crowds start thinning out.
The ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center has established itself as the perfect place for celebrating Christmas and Winter. And with the addition of a roller rink, New Yorkers and visitors alike have somewhere to spend their leisure time all year round.