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View Full Version : Harlem NY Skaters Protest Lack Of Ice Time



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barbk
03-21-2011, 02:47 PM
http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/top_stories/135942/young-figure-skaters-demand-equal-ice-time-at-harlem-park

Sylvia
03-21-2011, 03:01 PM
I was going to post this New York Times article link in GSD last night:
Harlem Figure Skaters Say Park Favors Hockey (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/nyregion/21skate.html?src=twrhp)

GarrAarghHrumph
03-21-2011, 03:19 PM
Almost all ice rinks in the US favor hockey. Hockey makes them the money. Hockey is often what allows the rinks to remain in business.

The issue is that Manhattan doesn't have enough ice in general versus demand. There aren't enough rinks, indoors or outdoors, v. demand. There's really only the one indoor rink, at Chelsea Piers. And there is no indoor rink at all uptown.

This group wants more ice time during the prime skating hours of 4-7pm. They were, according to the first article linked, offered ice time before school, but refused it. If that's true then I'm sorry. I have no sympathy.

missing
03-22-2011, 01:04 AM
The New York Times has an article about protests from Harlem figure skaters that they aren't getting enough ice time in a public park.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/nyregion/21skate.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion


A long-simmering dispute over the use of the ice rink at Riverbank State Park in Harlem burst into the open under the bright skies of Sunday afternoon, with protesters from a girls’ figure skating organization charging that hockey teams, made up mostly of boys, dominated the ice time.

Waving homemade signs, members of the organization, Figure Skating in Harlem, which has provided skating opportunities to local girls for almost 15 years, gathered at the park’s entrance, along with some of their parents and others.

They said the girls got only four and a half hours a week to practice; that, they said, has forced some parents to send their daughters to other rinks.

Sylvia
03-22-2011, 01:06 AM
FYI :), a thread on this topic was started in the Trash Can forum earlier today: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=78065

Kelleys6th
03-22-2011, 04:11 AM
I saw this lastnight on CBS NY.

Once again, hockey makes more money for ice rinks! :kickass: Boo!

This is a fantastic program for young under privledged girls!

The thing that makes it feel so bad, is that this is a public park made for the Harlem town, and the hockey teams playing there are from private schools.

Support their cause as much as possible!

Jayar
03-22-2011, 04:28 AM
This rink was across the street from my apartment... I never saw figure skaters on it. Only hockey players. Had no clue this is where the Harlem group practiced...

Morry Stillwell
03-23-2011, 01:37 AM
The New York Times has an article about protests from Harlem figure skaters that they aren't getting enough ice time in a public park.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/nyregion/21skate.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

This not an unusual situation. Unless a rink is a Club owned rink or is a training center, Figure Skating is mostly overwhelmed by the hockey program. I hope these skaters can use their under privileged claim to help them. To bad other Figure Skaters cannot do the same.

Civic
03-23-2011, 07:20 AM
There could be a racial component to this as well. Most of the girls from the Skating in Harlem program are probably black or Latina. Are the hockey players in question a racially diverse group or are they mostly white? The article doesn't say.

judiz
03-23-2011, 11:20 AM
There could be a racial component to this as well. Most of the girls from the Skating in Harlem program are probably black or Latina. Are the hockey players in question a racially diverse group or are they mostly white? The article doesn't say.


I highly doubt it's a racial situation, it's strictly economic, the hockey teams can afford to pay anything the rink wants so even though they are not from the neighborhood they get the prime skating times.

aliceanne
03-23-2011, 03:52 PM
I understand that skating rinks have to pay their bills but it seems to me that a lot of rinks shoot themselves in the foot by catering to hockey and group rental. A lot of that business is seasonal. Hockey starts to slack off in March.

Learn to Skate programs bring in new skaters for hockey, fs, and speed skating. Beginning skaters need public sessions to practice. Figure skaters may no be as great in number but they skate year round and participate in a lot of rink programs. From what I've seen the number of skaters a rink attracts is directly proportional to the number of programs they have (lessons, shows, teams, clubs, competitions). Most skaters like camraderie, and they need to have goals to keep them coming back year after year.

leafygreens
03-23-2011, 09:37 PM
This group wants more ice time during the prime skating hours of 4-7pm. They were, according to the first article linked, offered ice time before school, but refused it. If that's true then I'm sorry. I have no sympathy.

But why should figure skaters ALWAYS be relegated to the 6am session? Why can't hockey players practice at 6am for once and let the figure skaters have 6pm. I feel bad for the girls, but if they skated elsewhere they would see it's the same story at every rink across America. Not fair, but what are we supposed to do? Figure skaters have always been given sloppy seconds, leftovers, and whatever anybody else doesn't want when it comes to ice time.

At every rink I've seen, the one popular session a week (Saturday morning, or Thursday at 4:30pm) is always slam packed, sometimes with 23 skaters on the ice. I have a hard time believing that a hockey team can make the rink more money than 23 skaters. I do often wonder if this is sexist. And you know that there are more skaters than this in Harlem, because they have a waiting list.

I don't think this is a race or class issue, but a figure skating vs. hockey issue, which has been going on since the beginning of rinks themselves. But I'm glad that someone sees it important enough to bring up the issue.

GarrAarghHrumph
03-23-2011, 10:46 PM
But why should figure skaters ALWAYS be relegated to the 6am session? Why can't hockey players practice at 6am for once and let the figure skaters have 6pm.

In the NY area, hockey players *do* have games at 6am, as well as at midnight. Just the other day, the dad sitting near me was discussing his son's next game - Saturday at 6:30am up in Connecticut.



At every rink I've seen, the one popular session a week (Saturday morning, or Thursday at 4:30pm) is always slam packed, sometimes with 23 skaters on the ice. I have a hard time believing that a hockey team can make the rink more money than 23 skaters.

To rent the ice for 90 minutes at the rink in Hackensack, just outside NYC, is $615. So I'll assume that for a hockey game, it's $615 ice rental (no idea if there are also locker fees, etc.)

The cost of the freestyle sessions there, with your card, is $10/45 minutes. So $20/90 minutes x 23 skaters = $460 when the session has 23 skaters on it.

I'm thinking that even if hockey gets a rate less than the full $615/90 minute session, it's probably equal to or higher than that $460. And it's guaranteed money - they pay no matter how many players are on the ice, while with FS, the amount the rink earns depends on how many people show up. While some FS sessions are full, I've skated on FS sessions that are just me and my coach. Which is awesome, I admit. :) For me, anyway. Not so much for the rink.


I don't think this is a race or class issue, but a figure skating vs. hockey issue, which has been going on since the beginning of rinks themselves. But I'm glad that someone sees it important enough to bring up the issue.

I absolutely agree, and I think it's totally fair that the balance between figure skating and hockey at this rink be evaluated. The issue is that there's not enough ice during non-school hours to fill all the demand that exists, and how to equitably or best or most profitably divide up the available ice.

Debbie S
03-23-2011, 10:47 PM
The reason why hockey gets prime time is b/c the various leagues and schools buy the time from the rink, usually for many weeks in a row, for several months, or more. Rinks in my area generally rent out ice at about $250-$300 per hour. My club's home rink is a bit less b/c it's a city-owned rink, but most rinks in our area are in the higher range. In my area, rinks price FS sessions in the $11-$13 range, the lower amounts being the "punch card rate" - you buy a card with a bunch of sessions, all paid in advance and have them marked off as you go. Even at $13, it would take at least 20 figure skaters to match what the rink would earn from selling it to hockey. There are probably some popular times that would make offering FS ice profitable to the rink, but there are plenty of other times that aren't. Hockey usually buys at least 2 hours at a time. And that money is guaranteed to the rink - whether 5 or 20 players show up, the rink gets their money. If there are 2 FS sessions offered in a row and 1 draws 10 and 1 draws 20, that rink loses money relative to what they could have earned from hockey.

So if a hockey league calls the rink and wants to buy X amount of hours, the rink will gladly sell it and take the money up front. My club buys 2 hours on Mon and Thurs evening in prime time (6-8) from Sept through March to ensure that we can get practice time at our home rink, which is closest to where most members live. We lose some money on it, b/c we never get enough on both sessions to recoup our costs (and we keep the costs a bit lower than walk-on or punch card rates at other rinks) but we are lucky in that our fundraising and financial picture are good and we can afford the expense as part of our benefits to our members.

The reality is that hockey and winter public sessions pay the bills to support the rink year round. This is true anywhere. Rinks don't make money from FS, or from publics during the summer. Those packed public sessions on Sat and Sun aftns in the fall and winter are the rink's bread and butter, as is that prepaid hockey ice.

Morry Stillwell
03-23-2011, 11:01 PM
There could be a racial component to this as well. Most of the girls from the Skating in Harlem program are probably black or Latina. Are the hockey players in question a racially diverse group or are they mostly white? The article doesn't say.

In my opinion the article would not have been written if it were not for the Figure Skating demographics of the area.