Spence Senior Successfully Advocates For Keeping Central Park’s Ice Rinks Open

Spence Senior Serena S. and two of her friends led a successful campaign this weekend to avert the early closure of Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. On Friday, Serena was surprised to hear that the rinks were set to close for the season on Sunday. She quickly joined forces with her friends to see how they could change the course—that evening, they launched their petition on change.org. A figure skater who has skated at Wollman Rink since a young age, Serena believed that politics should be set aside given the importance of the rinks to the city’s children and quality of life during this pandemic. “The early closure would prevent the high school seniors, who have skated at Wollman and Lasker for so many years dedicating most of their mornings to early practices, from finishing off their senior skating season which they have waited so long for,” they shared in their petition to Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Council and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

On Saturday, with her petition already 1,700 signatures strong, Serena and her friends spent 10 hours at the ice rinks passing out QR codes linked to the petition and raising awareness about the impact of the impending closure. In addition to advocating for 2,500 children who skate at the park each week, their petition highlighted the loss of jobs: “The rink provides so many jobs for coaches, skate guards, administration, and security. Dozens of these employees, most of whom have been working here for 10+ years, rely on their jobs at the rinks especially during these tough times of the pandemic.” 

On Sunday, their petition had more than 6,600 signatures and Serena’s campaign declared victory when the mayor’s office announced that it would now allow Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park to stay open for the few weeks left this season. Serena is incredibly proud of what she and her friends helped accomplish, particularly since this was her first-ever campaign of this nature. “Having skated on the rinks for 14 years, I feel a great deal of pride and joy that I helped save 250 jobs—I love the people who work there as much as I love skating,” Serena shared.