What it’s like to ice skate at the TWA Hotel Runway Rink
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Looking for something fun and unique to do during your next JFK layover? The TWA Hotel's got you covered with a one-of-a-kind runway ice rink.
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From now until March 1, 2020, you can lace up and glide along The Runway Rink, which is being billed as "the first airport ice rink." The rink sits along the old TWA tarmac, and boasts views of the restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation that doubles as a cocktail lounge and restaurant. You'll also, of course, be able to admire the striking TWA Hotel, making this already famous AvGeek hotspot all the more appealing.
Naturally, my colleague and I wanted to go and check out the rink for ourselves.
Planning a skate session
If you want to check out the rink, you're going to need to do a bit of planning beforehand. The rink doesn't open until 4 p.m. on weekdays (read: prime New York City rush hour) so it's not very convenient for those wanting to pay a visit from the city.
We made our way from Manhattan to JFK at 3:30 p.m. on a Thursday and spent nearly two hours of traffic. Not to mention the surge pricing was through the roof. If you're looking for a quicker and more affordable route, definitely consider taking the subway and transferring to the AirTrain. This will only cost you $7.75 each way.
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The hours of operation make The Runway Rink great for guests at the TWA Hotel and for anyone with time to kill before catching a JetBlue flight, since that terminal is directly connected to the hotel. Just make sure to confirm the hours of operation fit your schedule:
Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
At the rink
The Runway Rink is relatively inexpensive compared to other skating rinks around New York City, such as The Rink at Rockefeller Center, which can cost you up to $53 during peak times. For adults, the Runway Rink at TWA costs $15 for admission and $10 for skate rentals, while kids under 12 are charged $10 for admission and $8 for skates.
If you don't really have the time to skate (or the proper winter garments), but still want to check out the scene, plan your visit around the two nightly figure skating shows happening now through Jan. 8, 2020. You can catch the show Monday through Friday at 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m, and on Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
After a bit of ice skating (or watching other people ice skate), you can warm up with a drink inside the old Connie plane — now that it's been transformed into a restaurant and cocktail lounge for the new hotel.
Connie's menu has plenty of seasonal cocktails perfect for warming up after a couple hours on the rink. We'd recommend the Idlewild Hot Toddy (spiced rum, hot apple cider and a cinnamon stick) or the Weather Delay (basically, hot chocolate and marshmallows spiked with vodka).
Or, you can head inside the hotel to the lounge area, which offers prime viewing of the rink with the comfort of heat.
If you don't want your ice skating evening to go to waste, make sure to use a card that rewards you for your seasonal fun. Here are some of our recommendations:
Earn 1.5% cash back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited — or get 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points when you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or another card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. There's also the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which just took home the TPG Editors' Choice award for best stand-alone credit card because it earns 2x miles on spend. You might also consider the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, which earns 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
If you happen to have a long layover at JFK, this is definitely a fun way to fill your time. It could also be a great activity for travelers spending a night at the hotel. But, if you're making special arrangements to commute from the city just for some inexpensive ice skating, be prepared to set aside more than a few hours, as the commute there can be rather long.
And, if you're just an AvGeek whose been dying to check out the TWA Hotel, we definitely recommend that. Beyond skating, the hotel offers a cool step back in time to the Golden Age of air travel. If you're looking for some great plane spotting, head to the rooftop bar where you can grab a drink, sit back and enjoy the takeoffs.
Updated on 5/3/21.