2005-12-16 / Front Page

Benepe Urges Residents To Stay Off The Ice

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe has warned New Yorkers of the dangers of going onto or near the ice of ponds, bays and lakes that dot the city, particularly Jamaica Bay.

Determining the strength of ice is extremely difficult, especially for an untrained individual. Ice must be at least six inches thick before it can maintain the weight of a person, and to freeze to the right thickness, the temperature must be well below freezing for weeks. Ice strength is affected by the depth of the water, the size of the water body, the water’s chemistry, the distribution of weight on the ice, and local climatic factors. To remind people of the dangers of thin ice, Parks & Recreation posts warning signs along the perimeter of the City’s lakes and ponds. Special ladders and ropes are also installed around the edges for trained personnel to use in the event of an emergency.

“With this week’s sudden drop in temperature, we urgently ask the public to stay away from any lakes and ponds which may appear frozen,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Venturing near water bodies is extremely dangerous and can be life threatening. New Yorkers can safely enjoy the winter season at one of our seven ice rinks.”

Parks & Recreation offers the following Ice Safety Tips to ensure park patrons remain safe:

Never go on frozen waters.

Parents and caregivers should make sure children are never unattended near ice.

If you hear cracking, lie down immediately to try to distribute your weight.

If you witness someone falling through ice, never attempt to make a rescue by yourself. Call 911 and notify the proper authorities. Be sure to give the exact location and an account of the incident.

The following ice skating rinks in parks throughout the city offer a safe way to celebrate the cold weather: Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink in Central Park; the Pond at Bryant Park; Abe Stark on Coney Island; Kate Wollman Rink in Prospect Park; World’s Fair Ice Skating Rink in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and War Memorial Ice Skating Rink on Staten Island. As soon as the ice is strong enough, Parks & Recreation will designate safe-skating areas in large spray shower basins and other shallow water spots throughout the five boroughs. Signs will be clearly posted to show that these areas are safe for winter sports.

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