Every winter, New Yorkers and visitors flock to the iconic ice rinks of Central Park and Rockefeller Center, but this year, winter revelers can have a new ice skating experience at JFK Airport. The new Runway Rink at the TWA Hotel allows guests to skate on the tarmac around the hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane, a vintage airliner which has been converted into a cocktail lounge. Lace up your skates and hit the ice, enjoy a rink side snack and beverage, and watch the dazzling daily ice skating show on the custom rink made with 3,500 galloons of frozen NYC tap water.
The daily ice skating show was inspired by Connie‘s history, and it has a very special connection to one of the show’s choreographers. After retiring from TWA, Connie spent time as an Alaskan bush plane dropping supplies in the Prudhoe Bay. Stephanie Chernick, who choreographed the show with Valerie Levine, explains, “The show is about the iconic Connnie. It lands in Alaska into this winter wonderland and the pilot falls in love with an ice skater, and it’s basically my life. I’m an ice skater who lives in New York and my handsome husband of a pilot landed in New York and fell in love with an ice skater. It really helped with the choreography, because we were able to recreate those feelings and emotions.” The best part, it was pure coincidence. When the creative team at TWA approached Chernick and Levine to choreograph the show they had no idea that Chercnick’s life story mimicked the one they wanted to tell.
After the show, performers skate around the rink greeting guests and taking pictures. Untapped New York even got a skating lesson from the choreographers! After you work up an appetite skating, you can head to the chalet style shop next to the rink for drinks and snacks. Beer and wine along with treats like Sno-Caps and chips are on sale. You can also purchase cozy winter gear like knit hats and scarves, emblazoned with the TWA logo, or holiday decorations to bring some vintage flare into your home.
Five hundred plastic tubes running coolant underneath the ice keep the 56-by-44 foot rink took frozen. A tiny zamboni sits outside the rink, at the ready to smooth out the ice. Over the course of the season, the zamboni will travel a total of sixty miles around the ice, reaching a top speed of 7 miles per hour.
The Runway Rink is open through February 2020. You can catch the ice skating show everyday, Monday through Friday, 6:15 PM and 7:45 PM and Saturday and Sunday, 5 PM and 6:30 PM. Don’t have your own pair of skates? You can rent a pair at the rink.