Skates for Christmas are as traditional as holly and tinsel and gingerbread men. And so, for a while, there will be great traffic congestion wherever a surface of ice is to be found. After a time, the incurably weak-ankled will abandon the effort, but a fair percentage of the novices will persist and master the sport that oldsters can enjoy as much as the kids. The range of the skating spectrum in the U.S. is dramatized in the color photographs on the pages following, from the Central Park rink in New York (opposite page), gift of a non-skater, the late Kate Wollman, through the big city's No. 1 tourist attraction at Rockefeller Center, where spectators may dine in restaurants looking out on the ice, to a pond outside Rockland, Maine, where there is a roaring fire for the comfort of skaters and nothing more—except a wonderful New England sunset and the pleasures of being young on a bright winter's day. One thing is sure: on city rink or on country pond skaters of all ages share a love for a thrilling sport that is also something of an art (see page 15).
The rink at Rockefeller Center in New York as photographed by Richard Meek from the 51st floor of the RCA Building shortly after dusk on a winter's evening. Fifth Avenue runs across the top of the picture and front of St. Patrick's Cathedral is at the upper left
On a country pond in Maine the ice is unswept and there are no rinkside cafés as in New York but there, is a bonfire and a sunset—and even the dogs can share in after-school fun