Brooklyn: The new destination for winter sports
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ice skaters and roller skaters who have anxiously awaited the Lakeside Center in Prospect Park will be jubilant to know that the $74 million, year-round facility will open to the public before Christmas, according to the city Parks Department.
The center will now be known as the Samuel J. And Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside, after a $10 million gift from the LeFrak family (owners of the LeFrak real estate and development firm) earlier this month. It includes two rinks for ice skating, roller skating and water play appropriate to the season. It will also offer an array of public amenities including a café, event space and restrooms.
The center replaces the old Wollman Skating Rink. Because it was built on the site of the old rink’s parking lot, the project adds five acres to the lake as well as three acres of existing parkland. The project also included the reconstruction of the lake’s original “Music Island,” which was destroyed when Robert Moses built the Wollman Rink in 1960.
“We are so excited to be just a few weeks away from Brooklyn residents and visitors being able to enjoy the impressive new facilities at Lakeside’s LeFrak Center,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Emily Lloyd.
The center was designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA), together with the Prospect Park Alliance’s lead landscape architect, Christian Zimmerman. The skating facilities themselves will be managed by Upsilon, which also operates the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park.
Skating rink admission will be $6 weekdays; $8 weekends and holidays, with skate rentals: $5 per person. Every Monday (excluding holidays), children 12 and under can enter the rink for free between 3 and 6 p.m. for unlimited skating accompanied by an adult.
Rentals and concessions will will be open on Monday through Thursday form 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to p.m.
After the holiday week, when the café will be open daily through Jan. 1, its standard will be Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Seasonal sports will include ice skating and ice hockey (November through March), Roller skating (April through October) and water play for children and families (May through September). An eight-week Learn to Skate program will also be offered.
The new Music Island was dedicated in October 2012. The recent reconstruction of the island required building a dam, excavating about 9,800 cubic yards of rubble and even relocating turtles.
In addition to the LeFrak family, Major government support for Lakeside was received from the Office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Council, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York state Sen. (and Borough President-elect) Eric Adams, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, the New York State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation and U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke.
With this new complex, Coney Island’s Abe Stark rink and the recently dedicated temporary rink at the McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn may soon become a skater’s paradise. Move over, Lake Placid!