This Ice Skating Exhibition In Manhattan Looks Magical

by Ellie Seymour
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New York winters are intensely grey, windy and cold, but there’s something special about wrapping up warm to watch or join the skaters at one of the city’s ice rinks. I’m also a huge fan of the Museum of the City of New York, so was intrigued to read about one of its current exhibitions, New York On Ice, which runs for another month and sounds magical.

It includes beautiful nostalgic black and white photos, old postcards, posters, paintings and costumes to tell the story of 160 years of skating in the city. The New York Times describes it as “a history of skating and its long-lost ice palaces, where single show-offs and romantic duos once glided”.

Kate Wollman Memorial Rink at Prospect Park, 1961 © New York City Parks Photo Archive


Apparently, winter was once Central Park’s most fashionable season in its early years – and did you know New York has seen ‘waves of skating mania’ since the early 1800s, according to the exhibition’s curator?

“Skating was once so popular that there were rinks on the roofs of hotels and rinks in the shadows of Gilded Age mansions — the Rockefellers skated on their own very private ice, next to their mansion on West 54th Street, long before they turned a sunken plaza in Rockefeller Center into a very public rink”, adds The New York Times.

Here are a few pictures and things from the exhibition to get you in the mood. New York On Ice runs until April 15.

A beautiful old Fifth Avenue Skating Pond season ticket issued to Miss Isabel Place in 1863


The Biltmore Hotel Ice Gardens, circa 1915 © Museum of the City of New York


The Biltmore Ice Gardens tea room on Madison Avenue and 43rd Street, circa 1915 © Museum of the City of New York


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Skaters on a frozen baseball field in Central Park, 1938 © New York City Parks Photo Archive


New York Americans sweater belonging to professional hockey player, Jake Forbes, 1925–26
© Hockey Hall of Fame


Union Pond, Williamsburg’s first ever skating rink circa 1863 ©  Museum of the City of New York


new york on ice

Skaters at Lasker Rink in Manhattan, 1967 © New York City Parks Photo Archive


A postcard showing the Ice Ballet Extravaganza and Midnight Parade at Thomas Healy’s Golden Glades restaurant, circa 1916 © Michael V Susi


Skaters at Sara D Roosevelt Park, 1935 © New York City Parks Photo Archive











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