Nifty Places | Riverbank State Park, A Swim-and-Skate Adventure Destination

Riverbank State Park Ice Skating

I’m from San Diego. One of the things people love about Southern California is that you can be in the ocean surfing in the morning and on the slopes skiing in the afternoon. Admittedly, that is very cool.

But did you know that in NYC, you can swim in a 50-meter pool in the morning and ice skate in the afternoon—all on the same ROOFTOP? That rocks!

It’s easy (and cheap), and happens at one of my favorite year-round rooftops, Riverbank State Park. The 28-acre rooftop sports and cultural complex is located in Hamilton Heights between 137th and 145th Streets, hugging the banks of the Hudson River. This rooftop is so vast that you often don’t even realize you’re on top of a massive building.

Riverbank State Park Pool

Swimming when the pool is set up with 50-meter lap lanes happens daily from 6:30-8:30 am and costs a mere $3 per swim. However, be aware that a new policy requires you to buy a $15 swim pass valid for 5 swim sessions. The office is open only during business hours, so you’ll have to schlep up there to buy this before your swim/skate rooftop adventure.

If a 50-meter lane isn’t that important to you, you can spend $2 and swim in 25-yard lap lanes, or just splash around for fun in this massive heated indoor pool from 3-6 pm on Saturdays and 9 am-6 pm on Sundays, which means you can swim and then get on the ice as soon as you’ve dried your hair!

Skating happens Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1-4 pm and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6-9 pm. Bring your own skates and the same Master Lock you used in the pool locker room, and all you have to pay is $5 (if you need to rent skates, that’s another $6). The open-air ice rink is available until the last week in March, leaving two more months for uber-busy New Yorkers to schedule their swim-skate rooftop adventure.

So here’s the breakdown: on Saturdays or Sundays through the end of March, start at around 11 am in the pool ($2 for 25-yard lap swimming or splashing around in the pool) and then head to the ice at 1 pm ($5 to skate). This is so cheap, you’ll even have enough left over from your $10 bill for a hot chocolate during your skate break.

Make sure to bring your own lock and skates, if you have them, as well as your own hair dryer! Now you’re ready for your under-$10 winter splash-and-skate NYC rooftop adventure.

Leslie Adatto is the author of Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops (available on Amazon.com in printed and e-book formats, at Barnes & Noble and all over NYC). Leslie has been seeking out New York City rooftops since relocating to Manhattan in 2010. She blogs about New York City rooftops and organizes two active Meetup groups, The New York Roof Deck and Roof Gardening Meetup Group and Rooftop Drinkers NYC. Leslie earned a BA in English from UCLA, is a former high school teacher and runs a bicoastal business. She lives, bikes and cooks in the West Village.

Photo credit: Arlene Bender

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