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The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center will open today, October 12th 2009, to kick off the 2009-10 winter season. It is the world’s most famous ice skating rink, with more than one-quarter-of-a-million skaters visiting each year between October and April. The Rink opening marks the traditional beginning of the festivities leading up to the annual lighting of the beloved Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. 

The Rink will open this year with an exhibition from Ice Theater skaters. Honoring Columbus Day, a skater portraying Christopher Columbus will perform and offer complimentary Italian flag cookies to all visitors on opening day. The skater will perform for the public from 9 am-4 pm, and a press reception will be held from 10 a.m.- noon. 

Additionally, anyone with the name “Christopher” will receive 1/2 off on skating on Columbus Day, and anyone named “Christopher Columbus” will receive a complimentary skating on opening day. 

“Attracting skaters of all ages and levels, The Ice Rink is a tradition we are proud to be a part of,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, which operates The Rink and its surrounding restaurants, The Sea Grill and Rock Center Cafe. “Visiting The Ice Rink and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has spanned generations and lasted throughout the decades, with more memorable years to come.” 

The Rink first opened on Christmas Day in 1936 as the premier artificial outdoor skating pond built in New York City, complete with modern amenities: night skating, a heated house for changing skates, piped-in music and rink-side dining. Over the past 73 years, The Rink has become one of the most visited sites in NYC—and even the world. 

The perfect destination for both families and lovebirds, The Ice Rink has several programs planned for the upcoming skating season: “Engagement on Ice” will be available throughout the season, which offers couples private time to propose marriage on the Ice Rink, followed by a champagne toast at Rock Center Cafe. “Breakfast with Santa” will begin in late November and last through Christmas Eve for children to spend quality time with St. Nick, enjoy a delicious breakfast at Rock Center Cafe and partake in a skate session. For those looking for a unique morning workout, Olympic gold medalist Jojo Starbuck hosts a morning “Cool Workout Sessions” program. Finally, back by popular demand, “Skate-a-Date” will begin January 2010. The program includes dinner for two at Rock Center Cafe and VIP skating on The Rink. 

courtesy of patinagroup.com