THE holiday season is upon us and thousands of people, including myself, have already started experiencing some of New York City's quintessential winter activities.
When I think of Christmas time in New York, I can't help but think of is skating under the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.
Having worked as a New York Islanders Ice Girl for about 10 years, nothing quite compares to the joy I felt skating on a 200-by-85-foot NHL standard rink in front of approximately 13,000 people — but The Rink at Rockefeller presented by Coach comes as a close second.
And I had the honor of lacing up my figure skates and doing some tricks under the big, bright Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Prometheus statue in the heart of the concrete jungle.
Skating has been a major part of my life since I first stepped on the ice at around eight years old. I began coaching at age 16 and working as an ice girl just two years later.
For anyone that doesn't watch hockey, an ice girl is basically an ambassador of the team that pumps up the crowd, throws T-shirts into the crowd, and most importantly, shovels the snow and ice build-up during TV time-outs.
With my newly purchased Edea Ice Fly boots and John Wilson Gold Seal blades, I took to the ice during a public skating session with my video producer Thomas, after putting my personal belongings in one of the rink's free lockers.
And I guess you could say it was love at first step when I got onto the ice because the quality of the ice was perfect and the atmosphere was dreamlike.
The first thing I noticed was the spectacular 82-foot, 14-ton tree decorated with thousands of colorful lights topped with a star covered in crystals.
I also couldn't help but stare at the 18-foot-tall bronze sculpture, representing the Greek Titan Prometheus, looking over the ice rink.
Most read in Lifestyle
Full list of postcodes due £50 cold weather payments direct to bank accounts
Lorraine star Ross King splits from wife seven years after glitzy wedding
Stormzy 'rows with Heathrow staff' after he's stopped from getting on flight
'Sick' party game featuring offensive cards about Queen seen in Harry’s TV series
Additionally, the flags surrounding the rink, which usually represent the nations recognized by the UN, reminded me of when I skated on the ice at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where banners representing the New York Islanders' Stanley Cup victories were displayed overhead.
To my surprise, even with dozens of people skating on the ice alongside me, I felt as if I had the ice to myself.
I was even allowed to show off some fun move—like a scratch spin and a spiral—without the rink guards telling me to stop.
At one point, my excitement was halted as the other skaters and I were told to get off for the Zamboni to resurface the ice.
As I admired the almost-empty rink before the ice was cleaned, myself and dozens of people around me witnessed a proposal on the ice. It was such a great feeling to feel a part of the happy couple's special moment.
Love was surely in the air as other couples also took to the ice to skate, including one which asked me to take a picture of them with the famed Christmas tree in the background.
I even met a girl who also appeared to have some prior skating experience, so I asked her if we could do a skating move together.
Once she agreed, we simply held hands while facing each other and skated around with our toes pointed outwards and into a spin.
It's possible that inspired my producer to want to learn some tricks, so I decided to teach him how to skate backward.
I advised him that all he had to do was point his toes slightly toward each other and march.
He found it difficult to do, but I was proud of his attempt.
And although my producer and I both brought our own skates to the rink, those who may not have a pair of their own can easily rent skates at The Rink at Rockefeller Center presented by Coach.
General admission and skate rental cost $21 per person for ages six and over.
For $45, VIP tickets can be purchased to experience an extended skate time of 90 minutes, free skate rental, priority service in The Rink Lounge, and one complimentary beverage.
But if you're new to ice skating, or just haven't been on a slippery surface with carbon steel blades in a while, I have three tips that will have you gliding like a pro.
My advice for gliding better on the ice is to keep your hands stretched out in front of you (belly-button height and in the shape of a V), march in place with your toes slightly pointed away from each other (a trick which will help you start moving forward), and touch your knees (with a slight knee bend for safety) while keeping your toes pointed straight whenever you feel like you may lose your balance.
As I skated around the rink at Rockefeller, I noticed a lot of people making simple mistakes that can easily be fixed with my three simple tips.
However, the worst mistake of all is to swing your arms in the air when you start to lose your balance as that usually results in an uncomfortable fall.
But if you remember to always touch your knees anytime you feel like falling and keep your feet parallel to each other, you'll skate great.
If you're interested in the ultimate winter experience in New York, The Rink at Rockefeller Center presented by Coach is a must-see.
Read More on The Sun
I search bins for Xmas lights & tampons – and have found £4k-worth of stuff
Catfish transforms herself into Megan Fox with make-up
There's even a handful of adorable Après Skate Chalets with food from Smith & Mills and a cozy rink lounge to indulge in some tasty food and a warm beverage.
The Rink is located at Rockefeller Plaza between 50th and 49th Streets in New York City.
Source: Read Full Article