Polar Rink at the American Museum of Natural History

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(212) 769 5100

Closed for the season.

Outdoors, open seasonally -

Located on the Arthur Ross Terrace at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), at 81st street and Columbus Ave in Manhattan.

This is the first season for a rink at AMNH and in our opinion this is an interesting exhibit of what the future of skating may be, although the technology does not seem to be fully refined yet, at least based on our experience. The skating surface is not ice - it is a dense, white plastic applied to the subfloor of the rink in 4' by 8' sheets. The sheets interlock like a giant jig-saw puzzle to create a homogeneous surface resembling ice. However, skating on this surface is very different than on ice. It offers much more resistance and exposes a skater's weaknesses. Additionally, the friction between the blade and the skating surface causes the blade edges to wear rapidly. Within fifteen minutes of skating our blade edges were GONE, so the session ended early for us. As such, to skate here it is best to arrive with freshly sharpened skates with a deeper than usual hollow. If one can get past the surface friction and dulling of edges, this could be a good surface to practice one's skills - master skating at this rink and lift your game to the next level.

The Polar Rink gets an A for atmosphere - trees with holiday lights, nice music, the museum planetarium in the background, a festive and symbolic Polar Bear center "ice". The Polar Bear is there to symbolize that this is a "green" rink in that the skating surface doesn't require tons of refrigeration and watts of energy to be useful.

Find out more about the Polar Rink on the American Museum of Natural History web site.

Last updated Apr 14, 2009.

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