A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday at Prospect Park for the new ice skating facility, the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside, which opens to the public on Friday. The new facility features two rinks, skate rentals, a cafe and a party room. Roger Clark filed the following report.
New York Islanders mascot Sparky led the way as Brooklyn school kids helped break in the ice.
"I got ice on my pants,” said one student.
"I fell three times,” said another.
It was a learning experience for some first time skaters at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, part of a 26-acre, $74 million project at Prospect Park.
"The LeFrak Center is really a place you can come to all year round, there are two skating rinks in the winter and today is a perfect day for it and then when the weather gets warm the covered rink will be for roller skating and the open rink will be for water play for children,” said Emily Lloyd, president of the Prospect Park Alliance.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the ceremony on Tuesday to cut the ribbon on the center, which took three years to build and replaced the 50-year-old Wollman Rink. The area around the rinks was also redesigned to honor the original vision of famed park designers Olmsted and Vaux.
"All seven pathways lead into it, it's a really beautiful space to sit, to picnic, there's a cafe, so there's lots to do here besides getting onto the ice,” said Lloyd.
If you do want to hit the ice, skates are available to rent, though Mayor Bloomberg may not be behind the counter.
By the way, when was the last time you skated Mr. Mayor?
"I was in high school, I don't think I skated after that,” Bloomberg said at the press conference.
Outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said you will more likely find him at the cafe than on the ice.
"Where non-skaters like me will be filling up on treats while being close to the action,” Markowitz said.
For information on the skating schedule and admission fees, go to prospectpark.org.