Since winter is just around the corner, I thought you’d enjoy a little nugget of Victorian winter recreation.
The Central Park “lakes” were connected to the city’s water system, and in the winter the depth of the lake was lowered so that the water would freeze better.
Ice skating was an enormously popular pastime,when the conditions were right: in the public parks, the ice had to be a minimum of 5.5 inches thick, air holes were drilled into it at various intervals, and the surface itself had to be cleared, smoothed, and prepped, over and over again, as people using it would tear up the surface. (No Zambonis back then). Below is a January 9, 1891 article from The New York Times, which gives an interesting insight into the pastime in Central Park.
For more info, take a look at The History of Ice Skating in New York City Parks.
I find this amazing: 10,000 people on the ice at one time! Then let’s throw some curlers in the mix, just to make it interesting. Other related articles discuss the shortage of skates, as there was a run on them this time of year.
Do you enjoy ice skating in the winter? Can you imagine trying to skate in full skirts? What is your favorite winter activity?
Brrr, keep warm!