Wollman Rink Reopens This Winter!
Last winter the future of one of the most beautiful rinks in the world, Central Park’s Wollman Rink, was in jeopardy but NYC Parks announced that Wollman will be opened for ice skating this winter and they selected Wollman Park Partners (WPP) for the operation and maintenance.
New York families will be delighted to learn that inclusivity and accessibility are central to the WPP’s plans and programming. We got the scoop on community program expansion from Sharon Cohen, Founder and CEO of Figure Skating in Harlem, as well as what to expect for winter skating from a WPP spokesperson.
WPP Community Spotlight: Figure Skating in Harlem
Sharon Cohen established Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) to create a robust figure skating program that fosters community on and off the ice by combining academics, leadership and sportsmanship while simultaneously building a sisterhood that is unique and special. Using the ice as the foundation, they take a holistic approach, offering diverse girls a whole year of enrichment, activity and the opportunity to be transformed. The transformation speaks for itself; for example, 100% of their graduating seniors have gone on to higher education.
Figure Skating in Harlem is thrilled to apart of the partnership for Wollman Rink since it will allow them greater depth and breadth and the ability to service more students overall with more ice time. Sharon said that, “one of the greatest things from this partnership is the expanded access and ice time to serve girls of color and others to open it up and make it a less exclusive sport.” She added, “Anything we can be part of with the other partners that increases inclusivity is just right up our alley.” Sharon is delighted to have the opportunity to expand enrollment and programming and diversity in ice skating.
FSH is most excited to have more students and give the dedicated students a chance to excel at a greater level with this great group of partners who are investing in the infrastructure of the rink itself. Don’t miss the opportunity to join the FSH program for this upcoming season since now is the time to secure a spot. The program offers activity on three afternoons per week (two are ice skating/fitness and one is the educational program) and the priority is to “serve girls of color who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.” Details are below on how to apply.
FSH is delighted that Wollman Park Partners is working with community organizations and that they promise expansion, inclusivity, and diversity at Wollman Rink. Here’s what else we learned about what to expect this winter skating season.
What to Expect this Winter at Wollman Rink
What sparked the vision for the new collaboration in Wollman Park Partners to revitalize Wollman Rink? How do you bring this unique vision to life?
As native New Yorkers with personal connections to Wollman Rink, we were immediately interested in this project. Wollman Park Partners represents decades of experience across the health and wellness, sports and entertainment, food and beverage and non-profit and community development sectors. With this expertise, and a deep passion for New York City, we believe we can turn Wollman Rink into a vibrant, diverse and inclusive place for all New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy.
Diversity, inclusion and accessibility are ever-important to our NYC families and wonder how they will be reflected at Wollman Rink?
Diversity, inclusion and accessibility are the central pillar for our plans. We will reinvest all profit back into the rink, programming and operations. We have also formed a robust partnership with several community organizations to ensure that our space is truly a place for everyone. This includes Figure Skating i n Harlem, Ice Hockey in Harlem, YMCA, Green City Force, Melba Wilson and Great Performances, and The Boys’ Club of New York. Together, we are planning on hosting a range of events and programming, including public sessions, youth programming with our community partners, cultural events and celebrations, and more.
We are pleased to hear about new economic opportunities for diverse businesses and workers from across New York. Can you tell us more about this?
Our goal is to make Wollman Rink a culturally vibrant and relevant space for all New Yorkers. One way we’ll do this is by finding diverse businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in the food and beverage concession program. We’ve partnered with Great Performances and Melba’s to help us provide jobs, contracts and internships to diverse individuals and businesses here in New York City. We are also committed to prioritizing Black and MWBE businesses for the Wollman supply chain.
We are delighted to learn about your vision for expanding access and programs at Wollman Rink. What new programs do you specifically have in mind?
Wollman Park Partners is proud to partner with local organizations like Figure Skating in Harlem, Ice Hockey in Harlem and the Y to expand our programming at Wollman Rink. We plan on having events year round, including non-ice programming during the offseason, and free or low-cost programming to non-profit groups and youth who would not otherwise be able to have access to the rink.
What will a typical, weekly schedule of offerings look like at the new rink?
The public can expect to see community group and public skating sessions, private lessons and community events, free skating events and more. We will release our programming schedule for the season as soon as it’s finalized.
We read that the rink will be open to a broader cross-section of users yet it is open to the public. What does that mean for city families? Will there be free events?
Yes, there will be free events throughout the season, such as for community and school outings. We will be planning to have more community events at the rink than ever before, whether it’s programming with our local organizations, free events to give people access to learn and try skating, and more.
What is the one thing everyone should know about Wollman Park Partners and what to expect this skating season at Wollman Rink?
All profits made from Wollman Rink will be invested directly back into the rink, its operations and infrastructure. Additionally, Wollman Rink will also be ready and fully open for the upcoming winter season. Wollman Park Partner’s proposal for the rink will also include best-in-class sustainable practices. We will address deferred maintenance and bring outdated equipment and systems into compliance with environmental regulations.