Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe is warning New Yorkers about one of winter's many silent killers: ice. Don't become a statistic, people, the ice doesn't have to win! Not this year! That is, not if you follow the ice safety guidelines provided by Benepe (below) and exercise extreme caution (and/or less extreme common sense). While you probably won't fall through the ice at Wollman Rink, you can AND WILL if you dare venture onto the thin ice coating ponds and lakes.

Benepe says, “New York City’s parks are beautiful year-round, and we encourage everyone to enjoy winter activities, but our urgent message is: Stay off of the ice on our lakes and ponds. It has very suddenly become colder earlier than usual and park visitors must not venture onto a frozen water body unless they are explicitly notified by Parks & Recreation staff at a specifically designated area that it is safe for skating.” If the ice becomes strong enough (at least 6 inches thick), safe-skating areas will be marked, and with a ladder installed nearby in case of an emergency.

Ice Safety Tips:

  • Never go on frozen waters (unless clearly marked otherwise with official signs).
  • Parents and caregivers should make sure children are never unattended near ice.
  • If you hear cracking, lie down immediately to try to distribute your weight.
  • If you witness someone falling through ice, never attempt to make a rescue by yourself.
  • Call 911 and notify the proper authorities.
  • Be sure to give the exact location and an account of the incident.

While the parks department doesn't touch upon frozen puddles—now is a good timeto remind you that it's always nice to salt or sand slippery spots on the sidewalk... or film your fellow pedestrians falling and put the video on the internet. Your call!