FIRST LOOK: We got a sneak peek at Prospect Park’s about-to-open ice rink complex

FIRST LOOK: We got a sneak peek at Prospect Park’s about-to-open ice rink complex
Photo by Paul Martinka

Shake the dust off those skates and tape up your hockey sticks.

Workers are putting the final touches on Prospect Park’s long-awaited ice skating complex and we got an advance look at the regal rinks that await. Outgoing Mayor Bloomberg stopped by Tuesday’s ribbon cutting as part of a citywide legacy-cementing tour and touted the virtues of the shred center.

“This 26-acre restoration of Lakeside builds on the park’s natural beauty — and helps restore the park’s original vision — while also including modern amenities and green infrastructure that will help sustain the park for years to come,” Bloomberg said.

The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside will boast two 450-person capacity rinks, one equipped for hockey under a starry-night-adorned overhang, and the other, connected rink out in the open.

A cafe will serve burgers, milkshakes, and salads, but whatever the merits of the eatery’s menu, they will not help when it comes to getting a health department certification in time for the opening. Without it, the cafe may be shuttered on the big day and the park may call in food trucks for reinforcements, a spokesman said.

When we stopped by on Wednesday, workers were still landscaping, bolting tables into place, shaping up an entrance path, and installing lights. But the rinks were ready to go.

The center’s two rinks will be used for ice-skating, skate school, and hockey practice from November to March and the covered rink will be re-purposed for roller-skating from April to October.

The overhaul also came with pedestrian pathways, picnic areas, a lake-shore dock, a 15,000-gallon cistern to catch rainwater and use it for irrigation, and a revamping of Music Island, which once hosted concerts but will now be an animal refuge.

A spokeswoman for the center said the workers completed the entire project on time and within budget, but it had a little help from the accountants who raised the budget to $74-million in 2008 from an estimate of $50-million in 2007.

Ice skating admission will be $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays, but entry to the LeFrak Center cafe and event space will be free. Every Monday, excluding holidays, children 12 and younger will skate for free between 3 an d 6 pm. Skate rentals run $5 per pair.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Transformer: The outdoor rink at the LeFrak Center will be converted into a water feature in the warmer months.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham
Photo by Elizabeth Graham