With the Rink at the Rockefeller Center celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, there has never been a better time than now to look back at the ice rink’s history.
The Opening of the Rink at the Rockefeller Center
Officially opened on Christmas Day in 1936, the Rink at the Rockefeller Center was well-received by the public. At the time of its opening, the rink offered many features that were unlike anything the city had to offer at the time. These included a dining area, music, a heated changing room and lights for nighttime skating. Despite all that it has to offer, the rink was only meant to be a temporary installment. Due to its great popularity, however, it became a permanent fixture.
In addition to being well-received by residents, the rink has also attracted a number of celebrities and notables over the years. Jackie Kennedy, Truman Capote and Lucille Ball all frequented the rink, while many Olympic medal winners have performed and skated on the rink. Among these have been Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Features of the Rink
Over the years, a number of additional features have been added to the rink and the area around it. Today, a bronze gilded statue of Prometheus that was created by sculptor Paul Manship in 1934 overlooks the rink along with a fountain. An iconic Christmas tree is also situated along the west side of the rink, which reportedly draws 165,000 skaters each year.
Celebrating 80 Years of Skating
To celebrate its 80th year in operation, the rink will play the Billboard #1 hits from the last 80 years. The restaurants around the rink will also be altering their décor, while their menus will pay homage to the opening years and to commemorate the celebration.
Skating at the Rink
Located in the heart of Midtown, the rink is located just steps from Times Square and the Theater District. A popular destination for tourists and locals alike, the Rink at the Rockefeller Center is open for the current season. Approximately 150 people are permitted to go on the rink at one time. During the season, it remains open from 8:30 am until midnight. Reservations are available for skating packages. Some of the special events available this season include VIP packages, breakfast with Santa, a Radio City Christmas Spectacular, breakfast and skating, afternoon tea and skating, ice engagements, starlight skating and season packages.
General admission skating is also available on a first-come, first-served basis. Rates range from $25 to $32 for adults or $15 for seniors and children 11 and under. Skate rental is available for $12 while skate lessons are available for $50. Skate lessons are provided from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. The private lessons are 20 minutes long and include General Admission to the rink and instruction. Group rates for groups of 15 or more are also available at a cost of $15 for adults, $10 for children and $8 for skate rental.