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All of the joy of ice skating without frozen toes and boasting spectacular views of the city? You’ll find it on the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards, where Edge NYC has put together a seasonal, sky-high skating rink in a heated space atop Manhattan.
Sky Skate is the second fully-indoors rink in the borough, and unlike the original Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, it is made of an artificial surface. When W42ST visited one foggy Thursday, it was already getting an enthusiastic response.
“After the holidays, we wanted to spice things up,” said Greg Holtzman, Assistant Director of Partnerships and Communications at Hudson Yards/Related. The new Sky Skate, an indoor mini-rink and accompanying bar launched this week and will run through March in Hudson Yards. “The weather in January, February, March is so unpredictable — people just want to stay in their apartment and not go out. We wanted to give New Yorkers and visitors something cool to do inside where they’re not freezing.”
Skating comfortably at 1,131ft in the glass-enclosed high-rise is possible thanks to Glice, a synthetic high-density polymer surface designed to mimic the slippery feel of ice, without using water, the need to Zamboni or worry about flooding. Holtzman said the material “comes together just like a puzzle, and it’s very low maintenance.”
And despite the unseasonably warm weather Thursday evening, there was a crowd of skaters already enjoying the rink and jamming to the groovy tunes of a live DJ set when we went to check it out. After zipping up a 52-second, 100-story elevator ride where our popping ears registered the rink’s altitude, we came upon several happy skaters gliding on the “glice.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m a big skater, but I grew up in West Fort Lauderdale [Florida] where ice skating and ice hockey were randomly a big thing,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Julian, who joined his boyfriend for an evening skate at Edge NYC. “I do really enjoy skating, so this is cool.”
Fellow New Yorkers Byrd and Elizabeth, who live in Chelsea, relished the opportunity to bring their 10-year old son to the rink for his birthday. “This is really fun — I haven’t skated since I was 10 years old!” Byrd said.
Edge employees are equally excited about the installation, with several staff members looking forward to skating the skyline after work. “I love it, it’s just so much fun,” said Khalil, who’s been with Edge NYC since September. “It’s something to do that’s a little different, and it doesn’t matter if it’s cold out,” said Shirley, a lifelong New Yorker who added that she’d been all over the city and loved that there’s always something new to try.
The rink is part of a larger push from Hudson Yards to draw in New Yorkers and visitors. The most expensive real estate development in US history, the $25 billion-dollar complex has faced headwinds from the COVID-19 shutdown, the growth of remote work and the tech downturn. Meta, parent company of Facebook, pulled out of two leases — although its 220,000 square feet offices in 30 Hudson Yards, under the rink, were picked up this week by private equity giant KKR, which is a part-owner of the building. Bloomberg first reported the move.
Related has amped up its own leisure activities, to offer more reason for workers to come to the office and diversify the area’s offerings to encourage visitors. Those include Edge NYC itself with the observatory, the daring open-air climbing wall on top of 30 Hudson Yards, and now, Sky Skate. In addition, Hudson Yards has the large-scale, multi-disciplinary arts venue The Shed, plus restaurants like Peak Restaurant & Bar and the new Bronx Brewery outpost. Later this year, Russ & Daughters’ first full-scale uptown branch will open.
Back on the ice, the evening’s DJ, Holly T, said she was quick to pick up a call from Edge NYC, who knew how to throw a party. “They had an absolutely insane New Year’s Eve that I worked and so when they called me to come back DJ the rink I said yes!”
While the crowd began to interact and dance on and off the ice, Holtzman said Edge NYC looked forward to throwing more parties to get New Yorkers through the toughest winter months. “We’re going to have a Valentine’s Day party, and some upcoming themed DJ nights — we may do a pop diva night and a boy band night,” he revealed. “Stay tuned!”
Would the W42ST street team — none of whom consider themselves Olympic-caliber skaters — recommend the activity to a friend? We’d lace up and (slowly) make our way back anytime!