Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by barbk, Mar 21, 2011.
I was going to post this New York Times article link in GSD last night:
Harlem Figure Skaters Say Park Favors Hockey
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.
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.
FYI , a thread on this topic was started in the Trash Can forum earlier today: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=78065
I saw this lastnight on CBS NY.
Once again, hockey makes more money for ice rinks! 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!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In my opinion the article would not have been written if it were not for the Figure Skating demographics of the area.
Hockey clearly makes the rinks more money- but if this is a tax supported community rink, then it shouldn't just be about profits, but about the community being able to use it. If the hockey teams are from private schools, it doesn't sound like it is being used by those who pay for it (if my understanding that it is not a private rink is true.)
I do know that hockey makes a lot of money though. Our rink offered my synchro team FREE ice on Sunday morning if we would give up our 9:00-10:00 p.m. Wednesday slot for hockey. We already had been pushed back from 7:00 for youth hockey... but then older players wanted to move earlier, they were practicing at 10:00, 11:00, and midnight, and the midnight group was complaining. We didn't like 9:00 p.m. anyway (too late! How do the hockey teams skate at midnight?) so we went for free ice
yeah, black people have it so easy when it comes to getting media coverage of their problems. /jk
No need to snark when the truth is told. Have fun
Uh, those attending private schools (well, their parents, that is) pay the same amount of taxes as those who use the public schools.
NY Daily News: Harlem figure skaters flourish despite freezeout at Riverbank State Park
At least around here, most private school students are not from the community the private school is in- they essentially commute to school. In that case, they don't pay any taxes to our city. The public and private school swim team uses the community center pool, but I don't know what either pays for it.
However, the kids on the private school swim team can't use the pool outside of swim team time unless they pay the (large) non-resident membership (or happen to live in my city, but that isn't very many). The kids who go to the public school get free use of the pool outside of swim team time because it is tax supported, and they are residents.
Figure Skating in Harlem pays exactly the same for the ice as the hockey programs. It's simply a matter of gender and influence.
Your community sounds a bit more compartmentalized than in my area. Here, schools are supported by property taxes, but due to a lawsuit a few years ago, there is now a bit more equity as far as allocations - I believe funding is not solely determined by tax revenues in a particular county/city. Taxes go to the state, which in turn distributes funding to each county or city school system, which is now based on some formula a bit more complex than revenue totals.
Harlem is not a separate city within NYC. I'm not sure if community services are funded separately within each borough, but even so, I'm guessing most using the rink are residents of Manhattan and pay taxes there. So yes, they would all be paying into the system to support the rink.
They have GAMES at 6 am, but they sure don't have PRACTICE that early. I have never seen a hockey team have practice this early and I've skated at many different rinks.
You pay NYC taxes if you live in any of the five boroughs. Harlem is part of Manhattan though. Manhattan doesn't have a separate tax.
Yes, that is how our schools work. But the "rink" (or pool in this example, as we don't have a community rink) is not part of the school. It's a community center that the school uses. It is not paid for by state money, but by local money.
However, understanding that Harlem is not incorporated seperately, I'd say that anyone in NYC has equal rights to it's community facility.
Riverbank Park is New York State park and the rink is partially funded by everyone who pays taxes to NYS. The rink sells permits to various private organizations, including FSH and NYC schools, and I believe all of these organizations pay equivalent amounts for the ice time. Part of the issue is that a chunk of the ice time is allotted not for private school hockey practice or FSH, but for Riverbank Youth Hockey, a public program which endeavors to draw a diverse group from local neighborhoods. Girls can also participate in this hockey program, however, most of the kids are boys. Throw in the public sessions the rink offers that are open to all and you have a serious shortage of ice time.
But to me, this is just true of all rinks. I was thinking that the girls of Harlem are being shorted by their community rink. But what really seems to be happening is that like most every rink I've ever seen, figure skating just gets the short end of the stick.
My rink has 6 hours of dedicated figure skating time a week (T/R at 6:00 - 8:00 am, W at 4:30-5:30 pm, and Sat. at 8:00-9:00 a.m.) If you aren't home schooled you can only use 2, maybe 4, of those hours, because school starts at 7:30. If you want more than that, you practice on public sessions. That makes for some very scary public sessions, IMO, but it's how the rink decided to operate.
I hate when this happens. I'm lucky enough to live near a couple different rinks, but not everyone has this option. Skating is a very tough sport just to even find the resources to do it. ITA figure skating always gets the short end of the stick.
If it's a public rink, money shouldn't factor in as much. It seems to me that on a public rink permits should be allocated equally--I don't know how many are applying, but no one group should be able to have more than a fair share of rink time. JMHO. (On the other hand, if it's private, they do have to take money into account. It doesn't benefit anyone if they can't make enough money to stay in business)
Does the City of New York have any kind of gender equity policy WRT access to publicly funded facilities?
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