For the first time since its opening in 1996, the beloved Boston Common Frog Pond will not be opening for ice skating.
The Frog Pond usually welcomes ice skaters of all ages but is generally geared toward children, even offering free admission to those under 58 inches tall. In addition to ice skating rentals, the Frog Pond rents Bobby the Skating Seal, a device used to help young children learn to skate, and offers skate sharpening services. This winter season, however, these festivities will not take place at the Frog Pond.
Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods said that the Frog Pond typically puts lights up all around the rink and serves hot chocolate in the concession stand. He said that since this rink usually opens in November, it is often a mark for the beginning of the holiday season.
According to the statement on the Frog Pond website, operating the Frog Pond ice skating rink is not currently financially feasible due to the 25 person limit for the rink.
“The cost of the electricity to keep the chiller running that freezes the ice [is] thousands and thousands of dollars, so if they can only have 25 people on the ice at a time, they’re not going to be able to make up the revenue,” Woods said.
The rink is owned by the Boston Parks Department and run by the Skating Club of Boston. The Skating Club of Boston made the final decision not to open for the 2020-2021 season on Nov. 13.
Woods said that many families were excited about the opening of the Frog Pond, making this closure especially disappointing.
“It’s kind of an annual rite of passage or an annual tradition that families have to go out, lace up, [and] skate,” Woods said.
Woods said that the rink usually closes the first week in March, and without a clear end of the pandemic in view, it does not seem realistic that the Frog Pond will open at all this winter.
“These decisions are made with everyone’s safety in mind,” Woods said. “If we follow the guidelines, hopefully the quicker we’ll get through this virus and we’ll be able to fully function, you know, in 2021 and get back to doing those activities that we love, such as skating.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Daderot / Wikimedia Commons