North Brooklyn has its own winter wonderland now thanks to the November 15 opening of the new McCarren Rink—a 7,200 square foot natural ice skating rink that can fit over 300 people on it at once and that will remain open through January 2014.
“We borrowed ice skates [from a friend] and spent a couple of hours there,” said Jack, a Williamsburg dad whose five-year-old daughter had her first ice skating experience. “She went from holding onto the wall to keeping her feet in line to sliding.
“I tweeted that Williamsburg was getting better and keeps improving,” he added. “There’s this and with the Town Square initiative and their goal of building a science museum in Williamsburg, I really think the community is growing in a way that makes it more attractive.”
Coming complete with skate rentals, skate sharpening, a pro shop, skating classes, clinics and demonstrations, and food concessions from Hanson Bros.—a collaboration between Tyler Kord of No. 7 Sub and Josh Cohen of Anella and Jimmy’s Diner—the new ice rink is celebrated by elected officials and community leaders as an economic driver for the region, and as the century-old McCarren Park’s transformation into “a premier winter destination and new holiday tradition,” and “a year-round hub for active recreation.”
The 60-foot-by-120-foot rink is located on the “beach” area of the recently renovated McCarren Pool and is a project of NYC Parks and the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for children, with skate rentals costing $5. McCarren Rink is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Although families walking in McCarren Park unanimously agreed that having an ice rink in the neighborhood is a great idea, there were some concerns about the cost of admission.
“I was a bit surprised to hear there is a fee to get in. It would be great if we could find a sponsor like they have in Bryant Park,” said Gunnar Hammerschmitt of Williamsburg. “Because in this neighborhood, there is a high socioeconomic need and a family of four would already be paying $24 for admission. I would love my kids to do that, but we would have to rent ice skates, too.”
Dad Thomas Rabalski was also circumspect, noting, “We’ll see what happens. It’s too warm now, but when the weather resembles winter, we won’t have to commute [to another rink].”