Cracked ice! No skating in McCarren or Prospect parks this winter

Cracked ice! No skating in McCarren or Prospect parks this winter
The Brooklyn Paper / Andy Campbell

Ice skaters in North and Brownstone Brooklyns will have to find somewhere else to practice their double lutzes this winter.

A plan to turn the McCarren Park Pool into a skating rink fell through the ice and a long-awaited overhaul of Prospect Park’s Wollman rink got behind schedule, leaving skaters who want to be out in the cold relying on indoor rinks in faraway Southern Brooklyn.

The Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn fought for the right to turn the newly renovated McCarren Park pool into a winter skating rink, then failed to deliver after executive director Stephanie Thayer stepped down this fall.

“The deadline for ordering the rink was Sept. 15, and we didn’t make it,” said Open Space Alliance board chairman Steve Hindy, the founder of the Brooklyn Brewery. “We worked with Parks to make the season happen anyway, but the company that supplies the rink couldn’t get it up until December, so we’d miss a lot of the holiday season.”

In the end, it came down to money.

The planned Lake Side development in Prospect Park is slated to feature two ice skating rinks, but neither will open this winter.
Photo by Paul Martinka

“We decided it would not be financially viable,” said Hindy, who promised his organization will get started early to bring ice skating to Williamsburg in the following winter. “It would have been an outlay of $250,000, and there was the likelihood that we wouldn’t made that money back.”

And skaters won’t fare any better in Prospect Park, where the $74-million replacement for the Wollman Rink — which was slated to wrap up this year — got off track, leaving a planned indoor rink and an outdoor rink under construction as the weather gets colder.

“At one point, we were looking to open this year in a temporary rink, but it would have been more than a half million dollars in temporary costs so we decided to focus on 2013,” said Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Paul Nelson.

That leaves indoor skating at Aviator Field in Mill Basin and Abe Stark Arena in Coney Island as the prime spots for public ice skating in the borough — a cold reality for skaters in Williamsburg and Greenpoint and the Brownstone belt.

“The closest outdoor ice rink to Williamsburg is in Manhattan,” said disappointed ice skater Lauren Corry. “[A McCarren Park ice rink] would give residents something more local, and also not necessarily as bombarded with tourists.”

Prospect Park won't look like this in the coming months because a much-anticipated project slated to add two ice rinks is running behind schedule.
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects