Lure of the skate outdoors Refreshing: Sunshine, skyline view draw hundreds to the season's opening yesterday of the Inner Harbor Ice Rink at Rash Field.

November 30, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Alec Greenberg slips and slides, then falls to his knees with a laugh.

The 4-year-old from Pikesville surrenders gracelessly to the Inner Harbor Ice Rink at Rash Field, lying on the ice and forcing several skaters to detour around him -- some unsuccessfully.

Hundreds flocked to the Inner Harbor yesterday for the season's opening of the rink. Some came to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and watch a troupe of local experts perform before the rink was opened to everyone else.

Others were curious about the woman in the penguin outfit who was dancing and waving at children.

But most, drawn by mild weather and the panoramic view of downtown, came to skate.

"I love skating outdoors," says Alec's mother, Ivy Greenberg, who is trying to teach her son moves she learned from her father more than 15 years ago. "It's beautiful. Skating with the sunshine your face. Who could ask for anything more?"

Not that the many indoor skating rinks in the area are bad. They're open regardless of the weather.

But let's be honest: They don't offer a view of the city skyline.

"The skating rink adds to the appeal of the Inner Harbor," says Louise Titchener, an avid skater who moved to Baltimore seven years ago.

"My husband and I love to skate," she said. "We used to belong to a figure skating club in Columbia. This rink was one of the reasons we chose to live downtown when we moved to the city."

And you don't have to be an experienced skater, or even own a pair of skates to enjoy the rink, judging from the number of purple and brown rental boots on the ice.

Look at Brian and Paul Wilson, 8-year-old twins from Govans who are skating for the first time.

They've caught on quickly and are chasing one another around the rink, oblivious to other skaters who anxiously skitter away from them.

"I took them here because I thought they would have a lot of fun," says Chanay Carter, 20, a brave soul who mustered the courage to bring four boys, ages 6 and 8, to the rink yesterday.

"We all go to the same church. I enjoy spending time with them and thought they'd enjoy playing on the ice. Their parents couldn't take them because they're cleaning up from the Thanksgiving festivities."

Holiday tradition

The beauty of Rash Field, in the shadow of Federal Hill, has made skating at the ice rink an annual holiday tradition for many people.

"We come here every year," says J. Brough Schamp, 45, who is skating with his 3-year-old son, Paul Newill-Schamp.

"The lakes don't freeze like they used to," Schamp says. "So this is much safer, and Paul seems to really enjoy it. He's been up since 7 a.m., waiting to come to the rink."

On the ice, the crowd is truly multicultural -- black, white, Asian and Latino.

Toddlers skate with their grandparents, teen-agers chase one another around the rink, young couples skate hand-in-hand. The skaters come from all around the area, including Reisterstown, Curtis Bay, Patterson Park and East Baltimore.

Scenes of childhood

The scene, Ivy says, reminds her of the days when she would trade in sneakers for skates and frolic on the ice outside Memorial Stadium.

"That was a magical place," she says. "I want my son to have the same kind of memories."

The ice rink's season runs from November to early March. Skate rental is $2. Admission fees range from $3 to $5. Skating times vary. Information: 385-0675.

Pub Date: 11/30/96

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