This winter, for the first time, Palmer Square’s festive holiday decor brings a new activity to town residents and students alike: an outdoor ice-skating rink. The Glice rink is located on Hulfish Street, directly behind Nassau Inn.
The rink opened on Nov. 30 and will be open Thursdays through Sundays until the end of February 2020.
Glice is a manufacturer of synthetic ice — a scientific solution to the environmentally harmful effects of maintaining a rink with “real” ice. The company’s synthetic ice is made from self-lubricating polymers that imitate the glide of real ice without as many shavings.
Most forms of synthetic ice are considered environmentally friendly because they reduce the amount of water and electricity needed to keep a traditional ice rink running.
“Princeton’s merchants have really stepped it up this year,” said Mayor Liz Lempert in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “The downtown is looking especially magical with the holiday lights and decorations and the ice skating rink on Hulfish. The outdoor rink is a first for Princeton and a wonderful addition to the town.”
“There are a growing number of great places to shop and dine, and we’re all hoping that the local merchants will have a great season and that everyone coming to town — residents and visitors alike — will have a fantastic, memorable experience,” she added.
Some University students have noted that the synthetic ice results in a noticeably different skating experience as compared to traditional rinks.
“The Glice was so bad,” said Isabella Pu ’23. “It’s just not as slick. You really can’t glide on it. I feel like if you’re bad at skating, the ice is more conducive to having a good time because it’s harder to lose your balance, but then again, it’s harder to actually skate.”
“The rink is really small, though, so even if they did have real ice, it would be hard to actually skate,” Pu added. “I don’t even know how it’s more eco-friendly. How is plastic more eco-friendly than ice?”
Her opinion was echoed by novice ice skater Darren Chiu ’23, who skated for the first time in Palmer Square last weekend.
“It wasn’t as great as I expected,” said Chiu. “I paid 13 dollars to hang onto a wall.”
The cost is $10 in cash or $12 with a card to skate at Palmer Square, and rental skates are also available.