Skating: Kudos To The County


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MyVeronaNJ-SkatingEven if you didn’t see the  “No Skating” signs at the entrances to Verona Park  Saturday morning replacing the more welcoming “Skating Today” signs  of last week, you surely surmised that the the 40-plus-degree temps of Saturday and the driving rain of Sunday mean that the skating party’s over–at least for now. Though we haven’t given up hope that there will be more turns on the frozen ice of Verona Park lake yet this winter, we want to end a glorious  week of skating and camaraderie with thanks to Essex County Executive  Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., Parks Director Dan Salvante and his staff for making the fun possible.

Every day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the boathouse was transformed into a cozy skate hut, with a cheery fire in the enormous stone hearth, rubber mats and benches for skate changes, and a rubber-lined wooden ramp connecting boathouse and ice. Portable lights and a generator lit the ice for night skating. Many people took advantage of the opportunity: Moms met for a peaceful skate during the school day, kids convened after school, some with skates and some without. On the weekend there were two or three hockey games going on at all times; kids of all sizes and abilities skating (some beginners used the plastic deck chairs for support), a man zipping around the periphery with bonafide speed skates, and several dogs, all having fun on the ice.

Speaking of hockey games, we do have a few suggestions for improvement for the next time around. For one, it would be great if a wider area were clean and cordoned off, so a section could be designated strictly for hockey. It was hard for figure skaters to dodge the flying pucks–and hard for the hockey players to avoid “checking” the figure skaters. And maybe some skates could be brought from county-owned South Mountain Arena (now the Richard J. Codey arena) to the boathouse on temporary loan–so the kids in shoes could partake. Because, trust us, it’s a lot more fun on skates.

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Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langan moved to Verona in 1989. A long-time journalist, she has been on the staff of Money, Sports Illustrated, Bride’s and Redbook magazines. Her articles on health and parenting appear in a variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Self and Family Circle. She and her husband Greg have three school-aged children, and are members of Our Lady of the Lake Church. You can reach Julia at [email protected]


  1. Your ice skating news brought back such happy memories to me. In the 1940’s—ice skating in the park was the best part of winter in Verona. Sleigh riding on the hills of the Montclair golf Club was a very close second. Thanks so much—-felt like I was back in the park cracking that whip on the ice.
    Pat Walscheid Clark

  2. Ah yes, I guess we have to add tobogganning on the golf club to the list of things we can’t do now too. I wish, however, that someone could tell me how the hill we all knew as the Blinks got its name.


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