Greenport’s ice rink at Mitchell Park has become a North Fork staple during the winter.
“I think it’s a great thing that we have this here in Greenport,” said Mattituck resident Beth Winter.
Winter said her daughter Victoria began taking lessons at the rink two years ago and now comes back every year.
“Everyone is very knowledgeable, the instructors are good and I would recommend it to anybody,” she said.
Winter said coming to the rink is a great way to get 7-year-old Victoria and her 4-year-old son Teddy some exercise — and to get them out of the house during the winter.
Former Greenport mayor David Kapell remembers when the ice rink was just a depression in the ground that would fill up with rain water and freeze during the winter months. He recalled that in the mid-1990s, during a meeting of the Greenport Merchants Association — an informal group that at the time met once a month — The Rhumb Line owner Jackie Kopas suggested turning it into an ice rink.
“The whole idea of building the park was to attract families with children into the village,” Kapell said. “The idea of an ice rink extending that season into the winter was something everyone thought was great.”
That first year the weather was cold enough to make the “pond” freeze over. The town placed hay bales around the perimeter to form a makeshift rink.
“Everybody flocked to it, so we knew it was a success,” Kapell said.
Today’s rink made its debut in 2005. The former mayor said seeing the idea grow into what it is today has been rewarding.
“[At] this time of year without the [nearby] carousel or the ice rink, it would be dead down here,” he said. “This adds vitality to the village at a time when we otherwise wouldn’t have it.”
The rink is open Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids ($10/$7 on weekends.) Rentals are available for $5. The rink also offers lessons for children and hockey for adults.
For more information, visit the Greenport Village website.