The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center Celebrates its 75th Anniversary
On Christmas Day this weekend, The Rink at Rockefeller Center celebrates its 75th anniversary. Since 1936, skating on The Rink has been one of New York’s traditional ways to usher in each winter season and enjoy a session of timeless, smile-inducing family fun. Both a symbol for the spirit of American family and an international cultural landmark, The Rink is beloved by many generations.
This year, The Rink’s Skate House has been remodeled, open to the general public. Now expanded and brightened, the Skate House offers comfortable seating, lockers and a skate rental desk under an airy vaulted, arched ceiling.
The Rink first opened on December 25, 1936 as the premier artificial outdoor skating pond built in New York City, complete with modern amenities: night skating, piped-in music and a heated house for changing skates. The bronze gilded statue of the Greek legend Prometheus, sculpted by Paul Manship and set in a flowing fountain, looks over The Rink. The annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree stands on the west side of The Rink, a worldwide symbol of the holidays. Rinkside dining has been a quintessential New York experience, from Restaurant Francais and English Grill in 1936 to The Sea Grill and Rock Center Cafe today. Diners are charmed by the sights of children skating (and tumbling!), lovebirds holding hands, and pros twirling center rink.
“After 75 years, The Rink is still enchanting for all who visit it,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, which operates The Rink and its surrounding restaurants, The Sea Grill and Rock Center Cafe. “It has been here for generations, leading to memories and long-lasting traditions. We are proud to be a part of its history and look forward to many memorable years to come.”
With a seasonal opening that is anticipated each October, whether it’s chilly or balmy, Rink regulars and newbies alike delight in the first skate. The Rink has become one of the most visited sites in NYC, with over eleven million skaters having graced the ice since its opening.
The Ice Rink has several programs: the ever-popular “Engagement on Ice” offers couples private time to propose on the ice, followed by a rinkside Champagne toast. “Breakfast with Santa” allows children to spend time with St. Nick, by enjoying breakfast with him at Rock Center Cafe and partaking in a skate session with the jolly fellow. Olympic skater JoJo Starbuck hosts a morning “Cool Workout Sessions.” Lastly “Skate-a-Date” begins January 2012, including dinner for two at Rock Center Cafe with VIP skating on The Rink.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center is located on 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. For schedules and skate rental information please visit www.therinkatrockcenter.com.
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