Public Comment

Resurrect Berkeley's Rink

By Wendy Schlesinger, MJ, CIP
Tuesday October 18, 2011 - 11:08:00 AM

The historical reality is that Iceland embodied, and can embody again, all that is truly great in Berkeley the town and Berkeley the gown. Not only did my son and I and thousands of other people of all ages and relationships and background have a wonderful time skating there to the music, with the Friday night disco lights or the Christmas lights, not only did so many of us have memorable birthday parties for our children there, but it was also a womblike place (kind of like the design for the new Apple headquarters) that held diversity in place with utter peace and good vibes. By the way, the nonpareil skate guards contributed, too, to the good vibes. 

I cannot figure out why the city of Berkeley and UC Berkeley (whose students curled on the ice late at night, and who had a recreational ice hockey team) has not yet thrown in a couple of million dollars...or six million resurrect the rink. 

Going to downtown Oakland to ice skate is simply not possible for many, due to a complex set of reasons, not the least being a lack of parking. There is a ig enough group of skaters around here and to the north to pay to skate at Berkeley Iceland. 

To have a sporting goods store there (with or without classes) is to admit defeat --- an egalitarian vision of inexpensive, kinetic fun for all (and a marvel for toned thighs and prevention of childhood obesity) is replaced with another consumer fest for only those with disposable income. 

And the rest of us? Are we to be disposed? Is it just market forces preventing a return to good old fashioned, clean fun in Berkeley? How crass; what a shame, what a pity. But don't mourn...organize and make a donation to the nonprofit Save Berkeley Iceland (just Google it and see how to give). And tell your Berkeley City Council to bring back Iceland as a skating rink, and UC alum: Call Community Relations, the Athletic Director, Public Affairs, and tell all of them to endow the ice rink and breathe the kind of breath back into it that we can tangibly feel and see.