2009-02-11 / Front Page

World Ice Arena Opens

Photo NYC Parks & Recreation World Ice Arena General Manager Kristi Tortorella, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Ice Rink Events Project Manager Ron Kraut and children from the Lost Battalion and Detective Keith Williams Recreation Centers celebrate the opening of the World Ice Arena in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Photo NYC Parks & Recreation World Ice Arena General Manager Kristi Tortorella, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Ice Rink Events Project Manager Ron Kraut and children from the Lost Battalion and Detective Keith Williams Recreation Centers celebrate the opening of the World Ice Arena in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Children from the Lost Battalion and Detective Keith Williams Recreation Centers in Rego Park and Jamaica respectively celebrated the opening of the World Ice Arena in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park this.week. The World Ice Arena is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and 7 to 9:10 p.m.; Saturdays from noon until 4:45 p.m. and 8 to 9:50 p.m, and Sundays from noon to 4:45 p.m.

Weekday admission is $5. Weekends start on Friday after 6 p.m. and the fee is $8. Ice skate rentals are available for $5 per person. The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Natatorium and Ice Rink is located within the park at Avery Avenue and 131st Street in Flushing.

In October 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Borough President Helen Marshall, city Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Matthew Sapolin, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities executive director, to break ground for the $55.2 million project that includes an Olympic-size indoor pool and a National Hockey League regulation-size skating rink. The pool opened in February 2008.

The site, utilized by schools, leagues, and community members of all ages, is the first in Queens for the Parks Department. The complex includes a number of special features to allow for recreation activities designed for the physically disabled. The ice rink venue was planned to measure 80 by 200 feet and include 400 bleacher seats. The entire complex spans more than 100,000 square feet, with an exterior of pre-cast concrete panels with an extensive use of glass panels that allow natural light into the entire pool area. The building's shape and design will reflect the pavilions built in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for both the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs. Other aspects of the design, including a "floating canopy" and tension wires hold-

ing up the roof, allude to the movement of athletes. During the planning phase of the project, the city engaged the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities and the United Spinal Association to review the facility and then implemented their suggestions to ensure it would best accommodate people with disabilities.

The Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Natatorium and Ice Rink building was built in partnership with the city Economic Development Corporation. The $66.3 million project was funded and envisioned by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman and former Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern.

In 1999, then Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and then Queens Borough President Claire Shulman envisioned a new indoor pool in Flushing Meadows- Corona Park. Conceived as an intermediate size pool, it was enlarged to meet Olympic standards and an indoor skating rink was added. Construction of the foundation finished in 2001 during the administration of Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern, but following 9/11, it was halted due to funding constraints. In 2003, the project was designated part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics and the Parks Deaprtment partnered with the Economic Development Corporation to implement the new project. A revised design was developed by Handel Architects, LLP in association with Hom & Goldman Architects. On Jan. 17, 2008 Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg delivered his seventh State of the City address from the floor of the ice rink.

--Linda J. Wilson

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