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Van Cortlandt Park welcomes first rink in nearly 30 years

Bronx Times

The Bronx has a public skating rink, the first in 30 years. But it’s not in the Kingsbridge Armory.

It’s in Van Cortlandt Park, just off Broadway and next to the W. 242nd subway station.

Officials opened the Van Cortlandt Ice Skating Rink on Nov. 19.

“Ice skating is one of the quintessential joys of winter,” said newly-appointed city parks department commissioner Veronica White. “We are delighted to...bring ice skating back to the Bronx.”

Near the #1 subway and Riverdale Metro-North station, local skaters can hit the seasonal rink for $5 a session.

RD Management and Ekstein Development are behind the facility, which hired Ice Rink Events to manage the rink.

The group already boasts two separate rinks in Queens.

Erik Ekstein, president of the firm, anticipates about 50,000 skaters will drop by the rink, available to skaters for the next four months.

While he wishes the numbers were bigger, Ekstein understands there will be a two- to three-year learning curve for Bronxites, who may not be familiar with skating.

After-school and weekend lessons will be available for green skaters, an activity that could bolster those numbers.

Plans for the rink have been in the making for the past two years, with Mayor Bloomberg committing to a Bronx rink during his 2011 State of the City address.

The rink, covering an old tennis court, was supposed to open exactly a year ago, with Ekstein awarded the bid in May 2011. But the project lagged for months after electric power needed for the rink posed a problem.

The Parks Department tried to open a temporary rink last winter but the idea was shot down by local Community Board 8.

Eventually Ekstein, Parks and Con Ed worked to fix the nearby electrical infrastructure to operate the rink’s chillers.

With the juice on, Ice Skating Events laid the sheet of ice on the old tennis court in Van Cortlandt.

Skaters can take advantage of lockers and a small concession stand.

The opening of the rink comes as developers for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center have proposed a nine-skating rink facility at the Kingsbridge Armory.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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