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Ice Skating Rink Being Planned For Hunters Point South Park, Aim To Open Winter 2016

Rob Basch

Rob Basch

Dec. 4, 2015 By Christian Murray

The group that oversees Long Island City’s waterfront parks has big plans to put down an ice skating rink in Hunters Point South Park.

Rob Basch, president of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, told members of Community Board 2 on Thursday that the rink would take up a significant portion of the oval and would cost in the vicinity of $500,000 per year.

Basch said the Conversancy aims to open it by next winter.

“We have to go big or go home, and it has to be done properly with all the amenities,” Basch said.

Basch went to the CB 2 meeting to provide the public with an outline of the group’s achievements since it was formed 18 months ago, from its movie series in the park to dancing. However, he was asked whether there were plans for a rink.

He said some of the costs would be offset in part by admission prices and skate rentals as well as by setting up a market area for vendors. Admission for residents is likely to be free.

However, the goal is to snag a big corporate sponsor. Basch believes that the rink would provide enormous brand exposure.

The group has had discussions with Hunters Point South developers Related Companies, who are supportive of the concept, he said.

Related could not immediately be reached for comment.

Coffeed/LIC Landing, which donates heavily to the Hunters Point Parks Conversancy, also backs the concept.

“The rink will make the park more active and more engaging,” Coffeed founder and chief executive Frank “Turtle” Raffaele said.

Basch said that the group has met with experts from Ice Rink Events, an organization that operates rinks throughout New York.

“They are very excited about a rink going in the park,” Basch said.

The rink would have to be protected by a tent since the park is very exposed to the wind and sun, which could damage the ice. Furthermore, the freezing cold could be unappealing to families with young kids.

The tent would be clear to ensure that the waterfront views remain completely unblemished. The rink would be up just for the winter months.

Basch believes the timing is right. He said that Mitchell Silver, Parks Commissioner, has challenged community-based organizations to “reimagine winter,” arguing that parks are under utilized in the winter.

Parks spokesperson Meghan Lalor said that the agency would need to green light any ice rink plans for the property.

The concept of putting an ice skating rink in the park has been discussed for the better part of a decade. Former CB 2 Chairman Joe Conley has been advocating for a rink since Hunters Point South Park was first proposed.

Conley said the park is run by the City, which has made it easier for event programming and ventures such as this.

“This is probably the best park in New York City,” Conley said.

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30 Comments

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Dana

Sorry to say but now that our representative, Mr. Conley is leaving public service, it appears he is preparing for employment in the real estate sector. First he plumbs deeply for the hi-rises over Sunnyside yards idea
Now he joins the LI Post hype for an exploitation of a public NYC park, with trash, lighting, noise and destruction of plantings as the only upside for residents.
Dog users of the play area for children possibly have a personal problem with rules, and what they are for. I can understand thinking of a pet as equivalent to a child, however, and much love goes into the care and companionships involved. We need a dog run closer to this end of the Hunter’s Point buildings. And a Parks Department building, with pool, indoor track, basketball court, and classes for all ages. Lets rep for that Mr. Conley!

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brooklynmc

I think it would be nice if it stays open late. Let’s face it, during the week days the neighborhood is mostly nannies and children and it probably won’t get much use. If I could go there at 7:00 pm with my son though, that would be great! I also think that it could get a lot of use on Sat and Sun nights by adults, especially if they sell warm cider or other alcoholic beverages.

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LICSSNY

Hey BrooklynNMC, get a life you seem very resentful and bitter. If the area isn’t meeting your expectations, and dogs aren’t your thing, there’s always Brooklyn….

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35 years in the 'hood

Nay sayers aside, this is a great add. Will become a treasured winter fixture. Just watch.

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Hmm

I don’t know that free to all Queens residents is a great idea. Will lead to over crowding for sure. Maybe free to hunters point or LIC residents as identified by your zip code or something.

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Peter

As long as it’s a temporary rink for seasonal use I’m fine with it. After a season or two we’ll have a clearer picture of whether it’s good for the area or not in terms of cost and use. In the colder months the turf sees limited use anyway by both the school and the residents so why not try it out. One group that will not be happy with this is the clan of dog owners that use the turf as a late night dog run, they might have to resort to using one of the many designated dog runs in the area.

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Rob

Just to clarify nothing had been finalized and there are still many obstacles to overcome. The community will certainly have a large say if this rink does get installed. The original plans for the park always had the concept of an ice rink included and this has been talked about for many years. We love the oval and the outdoor space and this would be a temporary structure during the slow winter months. The rink will not be a money maker but an opportunity for a corporation to provide a great service to the waterfront for the many people who have asked about an ice rink. We value greatly what is good for the park and the community and nothing will be done without community support.

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Dana

Lighting will be a huge problem–whoever saw an unlit rink at nigh?
A better location is the new green spaces South of the present pretty park. Greenery needs a rest, and the trees and remaining plantings have gotten pretty beaten up through a few summers. Imagine the trashing.
A better use of energy for the Conservancy is th=o increase the Parks by acreage or institute the Westernmost Parks Department year-round building in Queens; pool, basketball indoors, a track and classes for all age groups. Demand better for all the groups not in hi-rise lux buildings!

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LIC_Dude

Hm, not sure I’m into this proposal. One question- What would it be in the warmer months? Would it be able to go back to being used as it is currently like the rink at Bryant Park? If so, then I’d be for it.

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Ro

I have two kids and I would never or would they ever want to go out and play in the middle of winter in the oval turf area. I think it is very smart that they are looking to enclose the ice rink. This will foment activity in the park during the middle of the winter since there is none. I guess you can never make everyone happy but if HPP Conservancy is able to pull this off, kudos to the them.

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localyokel

FIRST – $500k is a ridiculously LOWBALL estimate. The company submitting the bid(Ice Rink Events) is notorious for running over budget with everything they do. WAS THIS JOB TRIPLE BID???? I WONDER? What will be even less appealing are the mobile diesel generators that will run 24 hrs a day – parked on the Center Blvd with cables running from the street to the rink area and the loss of the park for 2-3 before and after for installation & removal. ALSO, do we really want to be encouraging MORE traffic thru the neighborhood??? There are SO many other issues we have in LIC that need to be addressed and with a FREE RINK two stops away on the 7 Train(Bryant Park) who does this really benefit or serve? Won’t even mention the additional amount of trash, litter, teens hanging out all hours you can expect with this type of install.

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brooklynmc

I hear you about generating more unwanted traffic to the neighborhood, but this is New York and this is a beautiful place for a rink and it would benefit myself and my family who live here and like to skate.

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localyokel

Go visit Bryant Park and see what it’s like during busy hours before you put your stamp of approval on it. Also, your screen name says Brooklyn – do you even live in LIC? Macarron Park was supposed to get a seasonal rink. Been 10 years since they started planning that one.

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Licfan

I think this is a great idea. I’m not an ice skater but I believe it will add yet another activity to our beautiful park.

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Dana

Folks, this is about an income stream for local business–the concession/event space is the chief benefactor. Also another opportunity–of hundreds available nearby–to sell beer, etc. Rotten to take NYC Parks for this. Smells like the hi-rise idea violating many past pledges, to a hi rise behind the Paragon paints building, etc.
Gangster creep. Or, creepy gangsters, cloaked in do-gooderism.

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Pat

Looks like the planners and builders did not chat with any of the people who presently use this area or would most likely be using it come completion. ..
A skating rink is nice but not if it takes away space presently being enjoyed ..by people who may not be able to pay for skating or who just don’t like ice skating.

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brooklynmc

That space is wonderful and is very popular in warmer months but is extremely cold and windy in the winter. It has become a nighttime hangout and meeting place for dog owners who ignore the large visible signs that say “NO DOGS” and probably the same dog owners who leave a mine field of dog poop and stinky puddles of pee all over the neighborhood and who ignore the leash laws because their little “babies” are above the law.

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licer

there is an ice skating facility coming to hunters point already. why kill a nice open space for this?

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Visitor

If this is going where the current turf field is, where many kids and families play this is a very bad idea. I am an avid ice skater and I don’t find this more appealing than what is currently there.

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Mads

It’s sad to see free space in a public park turned into something that will cost money to use. Is there not a way to do something nice in the park in the winter that is open to all?

There is very little open space in this area as is. This is a lot to spend on something that is not accessible to the whole community.

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brooklynmc

This oval is not used much in the winter except at night by a large group of self righteous dog owners who ignore the plentiful signs that read “NO DOGS” and use it as a dog park where the dogs are allowed to run freely with no leashes and are allowed to poop and pee on the astroturf.

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Jon

I saw a yappy little dog with no leash bite a FedEx guy in the ankle the other night. Why couldn’t they put the rink over the sand area in the winter?

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