As the community celebrates Thanksgiving, many local activities are being held to herald the winter holiday season, such as the holiday lighting of the Tricentennial Tree on Farmingdale Village Green, and the many holiday boutiques that are being hosted by local organizations.
One of the most exciting rituals of the beginning of the season has just been completed - the annual icing of the skating rink at Bethpage Community Park.
The rink is one of three operated by the Town of Oyster Bay, and is used primarily by residents of Bethpage, Farmingdale, and nearby areas such as Old Bethpage and Hicksville, according to town parks department officials. Its reasonable prices set it apart from some privately operated rinks on Long Island.
General admission for two-hour public skating sessions is $2 for ages four through 17, $3 for ages 18 and older, and $1 for senior citizens, volunteer firefighters and auxiliary police. Children under 4 years will be admitted free. Special discount books consisting of 10 tickets will also be available. A book of 10 tickets for adults ages 18 and older costs $15, while for children 17 and under, a discount book is $10.
The other town rinks, Marjorie R. Post Community Park in Massapequa and Syosset-Woodbury Community Parks have the same rates. Each of the three rinks may be rented by groups for $150 for the first hour and for $75 for each hour thereafter. While Bethpage Community Park and Marjorie R. Post Park open tomorrow, the Syosset-Woodbury Park is closed for construction until at least December.
Preparation for the opening of the rink at Bethpage began in October, according to Ted Zervos, assistant superintendent of the Parks Division of the Town of Oyster Bay Parks Department. The work begins with cleaning and painting the area around the rink, and ends with making the ice. The department began making the ice last Wednesday, and has been doing so 24 hours per day during the past two weeks. "We're building the base of the rink itself," Zervos explained last week as another parks department employee dropped water throughout the rink.
Using a vehicle known, for its brand name, as a Zamboni, which has the capacity to hold about 300 gallons of water, the parks department employee laid down a thin layer of the wet stuff around the entire rink. The water was immediately frozen by freon pipes that lie three-quarters of an inch below the ground. After this 45 minute ritual was completed, the Zamboni was re-filled, and the process was repeated continuously throughout the past two weeks. "Basically that's how we make ice," Zervos said, adding. "Once we have a base coat, then we just maintain it between sessions." The maintenance, too, is done using the Zamboni, which also functions as an ice shaver.
The rink is especially enjoyed by youngsters in the community, who flock to it on Friday nights, according to April Guardino, a cashier at the rink, who noted that entertainment is only one reason to skate. "It's great muscle conditioning for your legs," she said. She added that the facility has something to offer to all in the community - even the novices, who she noted can take skating lessons at the park. "They can always learn," she said.