ONE T SOCIETY 17 (NON-SUBSCRIPTION)
LIMITED EDITION ST. NICHOLAS RINK
NEW YORK, NY
By subscribing to a membership you will receive a NEW shirt every month. Sauce will bill your account every month for the new shirt. It is like Christmas every month! Become a OTS member and start building your collection of unique one of a kind memorabilia T-Shirts.
ST. NICHOLAS RINK
NEW YORK, NY
Before it had Madison Square Garden, the great city of New York had the St. Nicholas Rink. Built in 1896 at 69 West 66th Street, on the corner of 66th Street and Columbus Avenue, St. Nicholas was one of the first rinks in North America made of mechanically frozen ice.
The builders of the St. Nicholas Rink, also called the St. Nicholas Arena, included two pillars of New York Society, Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Jacob Astor. The architects of the rink were Walter Chambers and Ernest Flagg. Both Flagg and Chambers were two of the more prominent architects of the period and Flagg was also a cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt.
The St. Nicholas Rink used a mechanically frozen ice or "artificial ice" surface using techniques developed at the Glaciarium in London, England. A basement ice-making factory shared the ice-making equipment. Another New York skating venue, the Ice Palace, opened shortly before the St. Nicholas Arena. A third artificial ice rink, the Brooklyn Ice Palace opened in 1896, to provide three artificial ice rinks in New York City. At the time, New York had more artificial rinks than any other city in the world.
The arena was used exclusively for ice sports until 1906 and was the site of the first hockey game between Harvard University and Yale University, which Yale won (no surprise) by a score of 5 – 4. The first women’s game was also played at St. Nicholas Arena in 1917 with the local St. Nicholas team defeating Boston 1 – 0. The St. Nicholas Arena was also the original home of the St. Nick’s hockey club, the oldest amateur hockey team in America.
The St. Nick’s team originally played in the American Amateur Hockey League, which started in 1896 – 97. With the St. Nicholas Arena gaining prominence as a boxing venue, the ice making equipment of the rink was eventually mothballed. As a result, the St. Nick’s hockey club began playing their home games at Madison Square Garden.
The St. Nick’s team still exists today and plays out of Sky Rink at New York’s Chelsea Piers. The club has long been a home for former collegiate stars to continue playing at a high level and counts the legendary Hobey Baker as an alumnus.
The St. Nick’s have won numerous U.S. senior amateur titles and still play a robust schedule to this day. Currently college standouts on the team include: Kevin Kaiser from Princeton, Jim “Moose” Morrissey from Yale, the Raley brothers of St. Lawrence, and trio of Union stalwarts Matt Cook, Brent Ozarowski, and Kevin Sullivan.
As noted above, by 1920 the St. Nicholas Arena was exclusively used as a boxing venue. The last main event was staged at St. Nicholas Arena in 1962 and by the time its boxing run ended it is estimated that 30,000 fights were held there. Many boxing greats fought in St. Nicholas, but one of the last fights featured a young up and coming heavyweight by the name Cassius Clay.
The St. Nicholas Arena was demolished in the 1980s after serving New York for more than 80 years. Today the head office of ABC Network stands in its place. Despite its demolition, the legend of the St. Nicholas Arena lives on to this day and the St. Nick’s Hockey Club can still be seen practicing every Saturday at 4pm in New York. Afterwards, as hockey players are known to do, the St. Nick’s trade war stories and share in a few adult beverages at the Brass Monkey located in the meatpacking district.