I sometimes have a tendency to overestimate my ability at something, leading to unfortunate consequences. For some reason, my own birthday parties used to be an area where this quality of mine could really shine. Exhibit A: Second grade, YMCA pool, birthday girl forced to wear swimmies because her feet don’t touch the ground and her swimming skills are subpar. That one was slightly traumatic.

Less troubling, but still awkward, was my sixteenth birthday party at the ice skating rink. Despite the fact that it had been four years since I’d gone ice skating, and three years since I’d been on my roller blades (thirteenth birthday party, also not my best), taking ten or so friends to the rink seemed like a good idea. I can’t remember if I fell or not, but my guess is that I did, and probably multiple times, because my memory must have blocked out that entire party for a reason, right?

I gave up my highly probable figure skating career for years, until I moved to NYC and went to Wollman Rink (excuse me, Trump Rink) for a friend’s birthday. That night, I realized that skating can be magical. I’d had a rough day, was in a bad mood, and my head ached, but when I got on the ice, that all faded into the background. It was just me, the cold air, the Taylor Swift song on the speakers, and my decent ability to stay upright. I managed to have a Zen-like attitude about falling that night: I knew I’d fall at some point, so I accepted it. Sure enough, at the end of the night when the ice was rough, I slipped and landed on my butt — but was totally fine.

When I went skating with my dad back home later that winter, I had trouble stopping, so I skated into him and took him down with me. The following winter he was brave enough to go out with me again. As we finished our skate, some of the folks at the rink who’d clearly been skating their entire lives stopped me to tell me how much I’d improved in the last hour.

You’d think with these three (mostly) positive experiences I’d have gotten my act together and started to skate regularly. I haven’t, but I want to! When Lakeside opens at Prospect Park later this month (something I wrote snarkily about in my first post for the blog Fucked in Park Slope), I’m totally going! I might even invest in a pair of ice skates. But in the meantime, I’ve made time to visit (and hopefully skate at soon) the free rink at Bryant Park.

Currently surrounded by the shops of Winter Village (see picture!), the rink is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., through March 2, 2014. Skate rentals are $15, and locks or bag check will run you a bit more, but since Bryamt Park is one of my favorite places in NYC, the wintertime addition of a rink just makes it even more awesome. I’ll be there with skates on my feet (and fear in my heart?) sometime before Christmas. See you there?