Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the roof and the boiler of the Playland Ice Casino, it’s time to put your skates back on.
By Melanie Cane
Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the roof and the boiler of the Playland Ice Casino, it’s time to put your skates back on. The main rink reopened on Labor Day and the studio and kiddie rink are due to open September 30. One of the reasons that it took so long to repair the roof is that it had to meet historical restoration requirements.
The rink’s new management company, American Skating Entertainment Centers, (ASEC), came on board September 1, after four years of talks with the County. ASEC runs a legion of rinks and recreational facilities around the country, including a soccer facility outside Disneyland, an ice rink outside The Staples Center, and The Westchester Skating Academy in Elmsford. The company has committed $650,000 over the next 18 months for capital improvements and upgrades to the Ice Casino.
In the short term, they are transforming the studio space into a rink that can be utilized for four-on-four hockey games, drills, and sharpening skills for younger groups. They are also removing the plexiglass windows from the admission booth and getting rid of the steel gates in the entryway to open up the customer service area. Plans are also underway to move the locker rooms from the second floor to the first to make it easier for parents and kids lugging heavy hockey equipment. Future plans include a pro shop and several dining options.
Mark Vito, the new general manager, is in charge of running the facility and program development. He worked previously as the general manager at Stamford Twin Rinks for 15 years. “ASEC is an exciting company and I’m thrilled to be working with them,” he said.
He and Rose Malara, director of the skating school, are developing programs for people of all ages and abilities, among them the Learn to Skate, Figure Skating, Learn to Play Hockey, and Adult Hockey. They have hired a party coordinator. Another idea on the table is to extend the Casino’s season and add camps, as well as additional leagues and clinics.
The reopening of the Ice Casino is great news for the Rye High School and Manhattanville College teams, which practice and play there; and it’s wonderful news for the community that this tremendous asset has been improved and will be more customer-oriented.