As we spy icy floes, contemplate new and interesting ways to say "coldest weather of the season," and cling to the mantra "At least we're not in Boston", there are some benefits. An automatic excuse to binge on hot chocolate is one—and being able to skate on the Conservatory Water in Central Park is another.

On February 6th, the Central Park Conservancy Tweeted, "RARE OPPORTUNITY! Conservatory Water OPEN this w/e for skating!! BYO skates. Ice not groomed. Do NOT go on any other frozen waterbody!!!" The Conservatory Water is where park-goers, like Stuart Little, usually launch modal boats. A Walk in the Park visited the frozen water on Friday:

The Conservatory Water, as it is officially known, is normally 3 to 4 feet but each year the Central Park Conservancy cleans the pond and, borrowing a page from the past, drains the water to a depth of 1 foot in the winter months in order to facilitate a solid and safe bed of ice. (The Parks Department requires the ice be at least 6 inches deep to allow skating)

The Conservancy also builds a wooden ramp so people can access the pond.

This week Tim Davey and his son Vann, 5 1/2, enthusiastically cleared the snow covered surface with a broom and shovel so they could play.

"I saw a couple of people out here the other day, it was news to me that you could even do this," said Mr. Davey, a father of three who lives a few blocks way.

"It was great, we were loving it. We loved shoveling off the snow to make our own hockey rink," he said.

Unfortunately, A Walk in the Park notes that no ponds in other boroughs are open for skating.

The Conservatory Water is on the east side of the park, near Fifth Avenue, between 72nd and 75th Streets.