Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Prospect Park's $74M Ice Rinks Project Unveiled

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One of two rinks at Lakeside, part of a 26 acre $74 million redevelopment project in Prospect Park that includes a café and event space.  The project,  along the southeast shore of the park’s lake, has been troubled by delays and money issues.   Approximatly two-thirds of the budget came from city and state funds.   (Photo: Christie M. Farriella for New York Daily News

The Prospect Park Alliance will run the complex under a licence agreement with the city.  The Alliance will be required to pay the City of New York nothing for the first year and just $ 100, 000 annually beginning the second year according to the terms of the sole source concession agreement the city "negotiated" with the influential group. 

The new facility replaces the Kate Wollman Memorial Rink which opened in 1961. The complex  opens to the public on Friday.  


Park officials, flanked by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials, marked the completion of the year-round skating facility named the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside on Tuesday according to tthe Wall Street Journal.  
The $74 million restoration project covers 26 acres of parkland and includes the construction of new rinks for ice and roller skaters, a seasonal water-play area, an event space and a cafe. Parts of the new facility, such as the parking lot, are still being built.
Prospect Park was designed in the 1860s by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux following the completion of Central Park. The new Lakeside facility replaces Prospect Park's former Wollman ice skating rink, which was built by Robert Moses in 1960 and was closed in 2010.
During lake excavation in 2011, parts of an original granite wall and several drinking fountains were found at the bottom of the lake, covered in mud. Some parts found during the work were reused in the restoration, according to Christian Zimmerman, vice president of design and construction at Prospect Park Alliance, which oversees the park.
"Preservation wasn't important back then, but it is to us," said Mr. Zimmerman, who was a designer for the renovation project.
The Lakeside facility has a circular and seamless theme, said Tod Williams, who was also a designer of the space with partner Billie Tsien. He said the outdoor ice rink is designed to make skaters feel as if they are on the lake, while the paths surrounding the center gently curve upward, so those talking a walk in the park may not notice they are actually going up onto the facility's roof terrace.
The rinks will be operated by Upsilon Ventures, which also operates the ice rink in Bryant Park. Admission for skating will be $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays. Skate rentals will be $5.
The center was named in honor of the LeFraks after a $10 million donation from the family, which is well known in the real-estate industry.
The park previously unveiled two other portions of the restoration—Music Island and the Esplanade.
The brand new 26-acre LeFrak Center at Lakeside includes a pair of adjacent ice rinks, one open and one covered, which will be used for roller skating during the warmer months, as well as a café and event space, according to the New York Daily News. 
 “This is a thrilling day for us,” Prospect Park Alliance President Emily Lloyd said of the transformation, which officials called Prospect Park’s most ambitious improvement since the green space was built nearly 150 years ago.
 It restored and redesigned 26 acres of the southeast corner of the park. 
 “It symbolizes the historic restoration and expansion of city parks our administration has overseen since 2002,” said outgoing Mayor Bloomberg.   
“I think it also epitomizes the spectacular renaissance of Brooklyn over the past 12 years.”  
The new Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center replaces the old Robert Moses-era Wollman Rink, which was torn down in 2010 after nearly five decades in operation.  The rinks officially open on Friday and will be open for skating and ice hockey from November through March, and roller skating from April through October.  
They will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays; from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sundays. Skating rink admission costs $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends. Skates rent for $5.  LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, located closest to the Parkside and Ocean Aves. entrance. For information visit, www.prospectpark.org/about/lakeside.

Read More:

The Wall Street Journal  - December 17, 2013 - By Kaya Laterman

New York Daily News - December 17, 2013 - By Natalie Musumeci  

A Walk In The Park  - November 10, 2013  - By Geoffrey Croft

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