Ice rink at the Empire State Plaza opens |

Ice rink at the Empire State Plaza opens

Emily De Vito
Updated: December 06, 2019 03:37 PM
Created: December 06, 2019 11:04 AM

ALBANY – The Empire State Plaza has officially turned into the Empire Skate Plaza. The ice skating rink there opened to the public at noon Friday.

"We start thinking about the rink as soon as we get into summer and we started building it around October," said Heather Groll with the New York State Department of General Services. "We have two big chillers on either end that keeps it frozen. We build the dasher boards so everybody can hang on to the edges."

The rink has been a staple at the plaza for more than 40 years. Groll said around 25,000 skaters lace up and get on the ice each year. About 19,000 of those skaters rent their skates at the plaza. It costs $3 to rent for children and $4 for adults. On Saturdays though, skates are free to rent thanks to Hannaford.

"It's just an awesome way we can be part of the community and get folks out skating around, enjoying something a little bit healthy," said Andy Willette, director of operations for Hannaford. "Get them active in the winter time and we have a lot of fun with it. This is something that my family and I have done for a number of years so it's a great family fun event."

If you’ve never skated before, people can go before the rink opens on some Saturdays.

"We do have free skating lessons once a month," explained Groll. "You sign up online at"

Also happening at the plaza on Sunday is the New York State tree lighting. It will take place at 5:15 p.m.

"When you're looking around every time you're out here you're just kind of wowed by the environment. It's pretty cool," said Willette.

The rink is open from noon until 3:30 p.m. and then 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, it is open 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. and then 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and then 6:00 p.m. until 8 p.m. They clean the ice between time slots.

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