Written by Ben Lowenthal
Photos by Patrick Clark
With City Hall towering over, skaters gather at the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park, Philadelphia’s own version of Rockefeller Plaza. Cars pass by on 15th Street but can barely be heard over the mixtape of holiday, pop and classic rock songs that guide both the clumsy and talented alike as they skate under strung up Christmas lights and enjoy the scenery that Center City has to offer.
The ice rink came into existence through funding from numerous donors, including Temple University’s own Center City campus. It is open to the public from Nov. 13 to Feb. 28 and though it is only in its second year of operating, the rink has quickly risen in popularity. Being in the center of Philadelphia, plenty of people pass through Dilworth Park on a daily basis, with the ice rink getting full attention from passerby.
General Manager of Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park Jeff Temple feels the rink’s location plays a big factor in its overall appeal.
“It’s perfect, are you kidding, it’s the best location around,” Temple said. “The ambiance here is beautiful. We’re right downtown by City Hall and all that, so it’s a great location.”
Rothman Ice Rink certainly differs in surroundings from Philadelphia’s other popular ice rink, Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn’s Landing. While the RiverRink treats skaters to a view of the Camden skyline, Rothman allows its patrons to be right in the middle of the buildings, illuminating the rink with skyscrapers. Skaters can enjoy the central location in Philadelphia without being overwhelmed.
Ticketing is different between the rinks as well. The RiverRink charges $3 dollars for admission and $10ten for skate rentals. At Rothman, the prices are $3 dollars for children 10 and under, $5 for adults and $9 dollars for skate rentals. When it adds up, the overall prices are very similar, but the real difference is the sessions. RiverRink skaters are limited to hour and a half sessions, whereas skaters at Rothman have unlimited access for the day.
“Here you can come in the morning and skate all day long,” Temple says. “You can stay as long as you want. You can come in the morning with the kids, go have lunch and come back in the afternoon. It’s kind of a little more laid back for us.”
An added benefit to the Rothman Ice Rink experience is the Rothman Cabin located right next to the rink. Here skaters can warm up– without having to take off their skates– and buy some food or drinks before heading out back onto the ice.
With everything it has to offer, the Rothman Ice Rink is becoming a popular winter attraction in Philadelphia, and Temple believes that it will only get bigger in the following years.
“Next year Love Park is under renovation so the German market over there is coming over here,” he said. “So next year we’ll be surrounded by the market. It’ll be a whole new concept for us. It’s going to be pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to it.”
The close proximity of the Winter Village has added to Rothman’s rise in popularity. Many people go in and out of the village during the holiday season, giving the ice rink full visibility to the public. With the village getting even closer next winter, the rink will be receiving even more attention. With its welcoming atmosphere set against an urban backdrop, this ice rink is a great place for family and friends to come together and skate under the Philadelphia lights.