Many skaters on pond. Bridge in right background. Tower off to left in background. Couple immediate front center skating to right in image – he in brown coat, she in grey with a fur muff.
As the nation developed in the latter part of the 19th century, the American public enjoyed more leisure time and participated in many sporting activities. New York City’s Central Park, which opened in 1859, offered a variety of recreational activities for everyone, whether they were young, old, rich or poor. One of the most popular winter pastimes was ice-skating on the park’s pond. According to an early park report, the skating pond provided great exercise and entertainment: It is undeniable, that the concentrated number of pleasure-seekers upon this little space of twenty-acres, while it imposes some restraint on the skaters, and calls for constant exercise of skill to avoid collisions, adds vastly to the general gayety, and thus causes an excitement of healthful hilarity…None of the various exhibitions of crowded life of this metropolis are more interesting, or can be viewed with more unmingled satisfaction than the skating scene upon the park. Currier & Ives captured the pleasures and challenges of skating in Central Park in this print, where crowds of people, with varying degrees of skill, enjoy the city’s winter season.