allday

Rewind! As Rockefeller rink reopens, take a look back

Oct. 14, 2013 at 10:26 AM ET

The Rink at Rockefeller Center opened in 1936 as a way to get more people to visit what was then known as The Sunken Plaza. Pictured in its first year, it was supposed to be a temporary attraction but became a fixture.
TODAY
The Rink at Rockefeller Center opened in 1936 as a way to get more people to visit what was then known as The Sunken Plaza. Pictured in its first year, it was supposed to be a temporary attraction but became a fixture.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center, which opened for its 77th season on Monday, wasn’t even supposed to last more than a year.

The rink has become an iconic part of Rockefeller Plaza that attracts tourists from all over the world, 77 years after its humble beginnings.
Patna Restaurant Group
The rink has become an iconic part of Rockefeller Center that attracts tourists from all over the world, 77 years after its humble beginnings shown here.

Now an iconic feature at the plaza that attracts tourists from all over the world, the ice skating rink was created in 1936 as a temporary attraction. The area was then known as the Sunken Plaza and was filled with high-end shops and restaurants, but the owners had a hard time enticing people to walk down the stairs from the lush Channel Gardens. In an effort to get more people to visit the plaza, an engineer from Cleveland was hired to build a temporary rink, and it ended up becoming a permanent fixture.

The rink is capable of accommodating 150 skaters at a time, including plenty of kids and first-time skaters.
TODAY
The rink is capable of accommodating 150 skaters at a time, including plenty of kids and first-time skaters.

The skating surface is 122 feet long and 59 feet wide and can accommodate 150 skaters at a time. On Monday, TODAY’s Natalie Morales took a spin on the ice with two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko to celebrate opening day. 

The rink not only attracts skaters, but also plenty of people watching some great performers on the ice.
TODAY
The rink not only attracts skaters, but also plenty of people watching some great performers on the ice.
Natalie Morales skates with Olympian Elvis Stojko on opening day of The Rink at Rockefeller Center.
TODAY
Natalie Morales skates with Olympian Elvis Stojko on opening day.


TOP