Thursday, December 23, 2010

Now, Witness the Power of This Fully Operational Ice Rink

While it's been open all week, I didn't get the opportunity to go check out our brand new ice skating rink on Veterans Plaza until this afternoon. There weren't as many people out on the ice on this sunny day as I would have expected, perhaps a dozen or so in total. To be fair, today is a school/work day for most. It will be interesting to see how busy it gets this weekend.

This week's grand opening is the culmination of a plan that has been on (and off) the books since at least 2003. In true Mongtomery County tradition, plans for the rink took the better part of decade to come to fruition. (While we waited for our little seasonal rink to open, the The-State-That-Must-Not-Be-Named constructed an entire ice skating complex where their residents can skate year-round on two professional-sized rinks as well as watch the Capitals practice for free. But I digress.)

Montgomery County has its share of public ice skating complexes, but there are few 'city center' type rinks like the one we are now enjoying. Some may recall that downtown Bethesda once had an outdoor ice rink, but it closed in 2002. Rockville would like an ice rink for their Town Center, but won't have one until at least next winter. Apparently they have had a rink with some sort of plastic (?) surface in place of ice the past couple years. The only active rink that comes to mind is the one at Kentlands. Bottom line: kneel before Zod, rest of county.

Those wanting to get their skate on should expect to pay $8 for two hours of ice time, with kids (12) and seniors (55) getting a buck knocked off that price. If needed, you can also rent a pair of skates for $4 $3. These prices are slightly higher than what you would pay at a county rink, where admission is $6.25 and skate rentals are $3.25. At those rinks, however, free skate is only during certain times and you will will get kicked off the ice after an hour or two at most.

Admittedly, I can't ice skate worth a lick, but the existence of a rink within walking distance provides me with the motivation to reach a basic level of competency. If you see a guy repeatedly falling on his ass or inadvertently barreling over small children, that would be me.


Anonymous said...

I think this will very much be a successful weekend draw. At least it better be...the plaza is dead without it (in sub-40 temps, i mean).

Tom Hogan said...

Went on "opening day" and it was a good time. The ice was a little shredded, but as we were leaving, they pulled the zamboni out. A little pricey for regular visits, but the wife and I will be back...

Giulia said...

Well, I decided to wait until I walked by tomorrow to check. I don't have time to keep checking the website. Glad to hear it's open...I grew up with skates on (almost) from 3yrs old. It is pricey for regular visits but I think it will draw enough people to keep going. I think it will be a big weekend draw, for sure.

And now that you've said how to spot you, I'll wave. Must charge camera batteries.



Big Bubba said...

I went by again tonight. Man this area some very bad skaters. Not that I'm a good skater.

I do hope the place succeeds. It seems like it has to do a fair amount of business to pay the rent/cost (rumored at $5,000 a month.) Hopefully they will be able to bring in some weekday business that I think is key to success. The weekend business should sell itself.

Anonymous said...

As one of those people who opposed the construction of the ice-rank from day one, I have to say that I now feel vindicated.

Anonymous said...

Vindicated? I can't imagine why. And I can't imagine how douchey you are.

Anonymous said...

Yeah anon at 1250, just go away. I can't stand people who continuously root against Silver Spring, really getting old.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear it finally opened. Too bad it took so long. To all three anons of the 24th... Now that's the X-MAS spirit.

Anonymous said...

Putting aside all the Christmas illwill and the way out of line "duchey" comment, I think anon 12/24 @ 12:50pm might have a point. Yes, the ice-rink is now open and a number of people seem to be enjoying it, but how many more people would enjoy that area year round if they had decided to build a small park-like area instead of the concrete slab that is the ice-rink? Of course, the answer is we don't know, but I would guess the numbers would be higher than the number of people who use the ice-rink for the few weeks a year its in operation.

engrish_major said...

Having it as an ice rink during winter does not preclude other activities happening on the site the rest of the year. I've seen concerts, etc. there last summer. The ice during the winter is just a nice bonus - on a time year when nobody else is using the rest of Veterans Plaza. I've always thought that they should put turf there when it's not ice.

Anonymous said...

I think all of us are agreed that the ice-rink should be replaced by a green space next year. However now the difficult part is getting us all to agree on what plants, trees etc should be part of this green space.

Anonymous said...

Went to the rink today just to sit and people watch. It was full, in the middle of a tuesday afternoon. Safe to say the ass who feels "vindicated" at it's failure is quite wrong.

Anonymous said...

Can I pay to get my own skates sharpened here, or do I need to head out to Wheaton?

Anonymous said...

@anon 12/29 @ 1:55am
Well, of course it's busy this week - heck if it wasn't it would be even more of a complete disaster than it already is. This is the one week of the year that it actually makes sense. The real test will be next week after the kids are back at school and the adults are back at work - how many people are going to be there on a school day after the holidays? The reality is few. And for all those saying how much the children enjoy an ice-rink, try telling them that in the summer when they're looking for some green space to play in the hot summer sun and all they've got is a patch of empty concrete.
Oh, and the use of the word "ass" is also way out of line (why do defenders of the ice-rink always resort to insults?).

Anonymous said...

What, you want a playground in the middle of DTSS to go with the fountain? No thanks. That "empty concrete" is used for plenty in other seasons - check it out next year, since apparently you've never been. VPlaza was full of people in the middle of winter instead of a crap-weather wasteland. I don't know what more you want or why you keep complaining about it or the word "ass."

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon.

Anonymous said...

I've walked past/gone to the ice rink probably 6-8 times at all different times of the day since it opened and it's been packed most of the time. Talk about a great addition to the area and a great winter attraction! It's looking like hindsight will ask "why didn't we build this thing to be bigger?" and not "why did we build this thing?"

Lelia said...

They actually opened it?! Sweet! I'm there.

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