Several New Bedford parks were the place to be during the winter if you were into ice skating. The city maintained outdoor skating rinks during the colder months, and they attracted large crowds of skaters and even a few wannabe skaters like me.

Why don't we still have ice skating rinks at the parks today?

Before video games, cell phones, and even cable TV, people found ways to entertain themselves in the evening that didn't require plugging in, tuning out, or hopping on the grid – and it was fun.

As a teenager, I remember spending many winter evenings on the ice at Brooklawn Park. Hundreds of people would skate. My cousin Steve and I were not good ice skaters but figured it was a great place to meet girls, and it was.

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When it got just a bit too cold outside, you could skate over to the Warming House, where a fire roared and the hot chocolate flowed. That ice rink is now a parking lot, and the Warming House is home to an adult senior daycare program. Oh well, here's hoping the seniors in the program remember skating in their earlier days.

Buttonwood Park also welcomed ice skaters to the frozen pond. The Warming House is now the Buttonwood Senior Center, and the pond belongs to weird algae and a gazillion geese.

My South End friends remember skating at Victory Park, where the Poor Farm stood back before my time. I didn't know the South End well, so I don't recall much about Victory Park. Perhaps you do and can share some memories.

I miss ice skating at the parks and never understood why people stopped utilizing the rinks. Did you ice skate at the city parks when it was available? Which park was your favorite?

New Bedford's Ice Skating Rinks of the Past

New Bedford's Brooklawn, Buttonwood, and Victory Parks drew huge crowds to their ice skating rinks. Check out some vintage photos courtesy of Spinner Publications of what it was like on the ice in the Whaling City back in the day.

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