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Ice Skating Rink Coming to Lower Manhattan's Wagner Park

By Jeanmarie Evelly | November 30, 2012 5:31pm

BATTERY PARK CITY — This winter, there isn't quite as much holiday spirit in Battery Park City as years past. The nearby South Ferry-White Hall Street subway station is still shuttered by damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, as are the area's main tourist magnets, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

But Lower Manhattanites will get a bit of winter magic back next week: an ice rink is being assembled in Wagner Park. The Battery Park City Authority is opening the 60-by-120-foot Liberty View Ice Rink — the same size, staff says, as Rockefeller Center's — in the waterfront space on Battery Place.

"This rink will be an iconic amenity for enjoyment of New Yorkers of all ages, much anticipated in Lower Manhattan," Battery Park City Parks Conservancy Chairman and CEO Dennis Mehiel said in a statement. "This source of much-needed recreation comes at the right time after the difficulties experienced by so many in our region resulting from superstorm Sandy."

The Battery Park City Authority issued a request for a company to run the rink last summer, settling on Liberty View Ice LLC, which is run by George Haviland, a seasoned skate rink operator, according to Authority spokesman Matthew Monahan.

The rink uses a corn-based liquid refrigerant — making it safe for the grass, should any leak out — and workers will start pouring the water over the next few days. Skate lessons and rentals will be offered, Monahan said, and a snack bar will serve food.

"We're very excited about this," Monahan said.

The Battery Park City Authority first opened an ice rink in 2009 at the Battery Park City ball fields, and it was a hit among locals. But the Authority failed to secure another rink operator for the last two winters, to the disappointment of residents who were clamoring to see the rink return.

"My daughter is going to be ecstatic," said local mom Tracey Donohue, whose 12-year-old recently got roller skates for her birthday "just so she could practice," for the ice this winter.

"I think it's awesome—a little over-priced, but still awesome," said nanny Rosie Parsons, who watches two little girls, 6 and 8, who live nearby.

A trip to the rink will cost $7 for children 12 and under, Monahan said, while adults will be charged $10 during the week and $15 Friday through Sunday.

The Liberty View Ice Rink is slated to open by the end of next week, Monahan said.