My brother had the brilliant idea of taking his 3-year-old daughter and my 2-year-old son ice skating over the weekend. We decided to embrace the winter and the cold and the fact that there’s little else to do when mountains of snow cover your neighborhood. A bit of research – on the part of my brother – revealed that Fritz Dietl Ice Rink in Westwood had double-bladed skates perfect for toddlers interested in hanging out on the ice. He thought the kids would also enjoy it more because it was smaller than the other nearby rinks. We were wrong.
The place was swarming with people, including lots of much bigger kids, for the chance at rink time. There was a big sign on the door that said the place has no insurance, and you’ll be skating at your own risk. The cashier also insisted we pay cash, no credit cards. It cost $52 for my brother, his daughter, my son, and me to rent skates and take to the ice for about 30 minutes. And, despite what my brother read on the Web site, there were no double blades.
Needless to say, getting my 2-year-old stable on ice skates on very slippery ice was nearly impossible, especially when I had not skated in nearly 20 years and have had three knee surgeries since then. Basically, it was like trying to get a fish to swim on blacktop. Baby Boy and I walked through the door onto the ice, I held onto the wall, and he rolled around on his bottom a bit before I decided this wasn’t going to work. Instead, he pretended to play the pinball machine (we didn’t put money in it) and looked at the trophies and skates being doled out by staff while we waited for my niece and brother to finish up. They had a slightly better experience but only because my brother was willing to lift and carry her for three rounds on the ice. After about 15 minutes, we were all turning in our skates and moving on. I asked my niece if she had fun and she said, “Not so much.” How’s that for honesty?
We all decided the idea was a good one. Next time, we’ll consider a bigger rink with more resources, such as Ice House NJ in Hackensack or the Palisades Center Ice Rink in West Nyack, N.Y. Don’t worry about our plans being ruined by the “not so fun” time on the ice on Sunday. Baby Boy and his cousin made up for it by steering the fire engine shopping wagon at our Shop Rite run afterward. See photo below. Figures, Italian kids prefer grocery shopping to ice skating.