LUTZ LIKE A WINTER OLYMPIAN AT THESE FESTIVE AND FUN TEMPORARY RINKS
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
Some of New Jersey’s most creatively proactive destinations are enticing customers from the warmth of their homes by resurrecting one of the season’s most time honored traditions.
Temporary seasonal ice skating rinks complete with amenities and special events have been reinvigorating area shopping malls, attracting tenants to new multi use residential communities, and even drawing visitors back to the Jersey Shore. The success of these pop up rinks has propelled clever marketers to expand offerings to themed parties, fund raisers, and child friendly activities. While temps stay in the chill zone, it’s worth a trip, whether taking to the ice or simply observing the fun and festive decorations.
ASBURY HOTEL, ASBURY PARK
Demonstrating why The Asbury was voted best new American hotel by USA Today readers, owner/operator David Bowd continues to wow with out of the box thinking that has become the hallmark of the city’s resurgence. The hotel’s ice rink debuted last January; tucked into a twinkling, fir tree lined spot at the hotel’s southern end, it offers fire pits with comfy seating, DJ music, and a chalet style snack and drink shed. A food truck is also on site.
“The Asbury Hotel prides itself on being a social hub for both locals and travelers, with programming and activities year round,” Bowd said. “Building an ice rink allows visitors and residents to come together and make even more memories.”
PIER VILLAGE, LONG BRANCH
The “Ice at the Pier” rink at Pier Village is located across from the boardwalk amidst the shops at Festival Plaza, where throngs gather in summer for free open air concerts. Its clever logo features artistic surfboards rendered in shades of icy cool blue.
Open seven days per week, the rink quickly attracted skaters of all ages who show up, lace up, and skate away on the “thin ice of a new day” (to borrow lyrics from Jethro Tull). Festive seasonal decorations set the mood, and it’s an easy walk to the area’s popular restaurants; from upscale to the Stewart’s across the street. To make ice skating available to novices as well the smooth operators we all admire, blue plastic ice “walkers” are available.
210 5th Avenue, asburyhotel.com
Party packages are available for birthdays, private events, and engagements, and local merchants get involved maximizing the off season opportunity with offers, discounts, and themed seasonal libations. 50 Chelsea Avenue, piervillage.com
NEWPORT SKATES, JERSEY CITY
Gliding across the ice with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline? Yes, please.
Located at the recently completed waterfront apartment development, Newport Skates is the only outdoor ice skating rink in Jersey City. This is its inaugural season, and it’s open seven days per week. Lessons, parties, season passes, group rates, and skate rentals are available. Residents get in half price with identification cards, which has become a draw for those deciding among all the new residential options along the Hudson River. 95 River Drive South, newportskates.com
Most rinks are scheduled to remain open through President’s Day (February 19), but some stayed open longer last season due to cooperating cold weather. Given the popularity of this “everything old is new again” seasonal leisure activity, expect an extended season. Plus, when plans for the coming Freedom Pointe multi use retail/residential/office/shopping/entertainment complex at the former Fort Monmouth in Monmouth County were announced last winter, a seasonal ice skating rink was part of the plans.