Over the weekend, I checked out the American Museum of Natural History's ice rink. It's well situated on West 81st street, up on a 2nd story plaza area.
I was so surprised how few people were out on the "ice", until I realized it wasn't ice at all.
Now, to be fair, there was a little sign up at ticket counter that said that the surface was synthetic and sustainable. I was thinking, "Umm... sure... whatever... as long as I can slide on it, who cares? Make it from tofu for all I care."
Unfortunately, you can't slide on it... at all--certainly not with a pair of rental skates. It's completely unskatable--unless you have roller skakes. Hell, it's the only rink in the world where you could outskate someone by running with sneakers. The surface is a hard plastic. Apparently, a check of Twitter (which I should have done in the first place) reveals that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
rmangi: "Polar Rink at AMNH - beautiful. Synthetic ice - Like skating on a plastic cutting board."
Even the CNN travel reporter couldn't get going on it:
"It took a lot of leg strength to push myself a few inches, and I couldn't dig my blades in to get a stronger push. To be fair, I've never been the most graceful skater, but looking around, I noticed that no one else was either. Even experienced skaters felt their skills tested."
Hey, I'm all for sustainability, but if you're not going to even recreate a bare minimum of the ice experience, why bother? In fact, it would have been better as a roller rink... same surface, but with wheels. I couldn't slide at all, and there was so much friction that I nearly fell over a few times--and I can actually skate!
I didn't ask for my $10 back, because it's a museum, so I considered it a donation, but I was off the "ice" in 10 minutes.
The only person who could manage any skating whatsoever was a museum employee who had real skates with sharp blades. I imagine whatever company set this up for the museum demoed the ice with real skates, not the rental ones given out to the general public.
The CNN story said that some kind of spray lubricates the ice. Apparently, it needs a lot more lube. Perhaps they should inquire here.