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McCarren, Prospect Park ice-skating rinks set to open this winter

JPMorgan Chase Foundation kicked in $1.6 million to help Prospect Park complete its once-embattled Lakeside Center skating facility.
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Sharpen your skates.

Ice-skating rinks are coming to two Brooklyn parks this winter, to the relief of borough skaters frustrated by delays that melted their prospects last year.

The McCarren Park pool and the replacement for Prospect Park’s Wollman rink will both open in mid-December, officials say. Both projects failed to open last year due to money troubles and construction delays, forcing the skaters of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and brownstone Brooklyn to trek long distances to practice their triple salchows.

“Everything is moving forward,” said Parks Department spokesman Philip Abramson about the McCarren pool rink.

The Parks Department picked a vendor to set up the rink in hopes of avoiding a repeat of last winter, when the McCarren plan cratered after the Open Space Alliance of North Brooklyn, which had fought for the rink, let a crucial deadline pass then decided that it would be too expensive.

The McCarren rink and Prospect Park’s skating facility at the long-delayed Lakeside Center will end a three-year ice drought that has been H-E-double-hockeysticks for borough skate enthusiasts, who have had to go as far as Aviator Field in Mill Basin, Abe Stark Arena in Coney Island, and even Manhattan to get their glide on. The $74-million replacement for the Wollman rink had been scheduled to partially open in late 2012 but plans for a temporary stand-in rink veered off-track, leaving the skating complex on ice. Rink construction is not finished and the Prospect Park Alliance is still negotiating with a vendor, but the complex, which will have an indoor and an outdoor rink, is really opening this time, according to alliance spokesman Paul Nelson.

News of the openings was music to the ears of borough residents itching to strap on some skates.

“It’s something that the community has wanted to see happen for a while,” Greenpointer Ryan Watson said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

Ice at last: Two ice-skating rinks, one indoor and one outdoor, are scheduled to open this December in Prospect Park, one year later than they were supposed to. The Lakeside complex at the park's south end is still under construction but the Prospect Park Alliance insists that the opening is a go this time.
Photo by Paul Martinka

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