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    Boston Common ice skating a winter tradition

    Magic can be found in the heart of the city.

    Few sounds say winter in Boston like pop music and ice skates at Frog Pond. Every day during the colder months people from all across the city and beyond gather at the ice rink on Boston Common. The day I visited, it was good skating weather — warm but not too warm. Most everyone seemed happy to be on the ice, their cheeks flush, their arms flailing, the scrapes of their skates filling the air. Some skaters dashed at warp speed, others kept to a crawl. I watched three friends inch along the wall together, trying to keep their balance while saying, “Oh, my God!” I saw couples skating hand in hand. A man flying around the rink swung by and told me: “I get hypnotized by my own sound. Especially when the ice is so fresh.” The music was from the 1980s, because, really, what else would you want to skate to? Indoor ice rinks and rural ponds are fine and all, but there’s something particularly magical about skating downtown. What is said to be America’s oldest public park, some 379 years after its founding, endures as one of our most cherished — and most all-season — civic spaces.

    WHAT SOUNDS DO YOU HEAR ON YOUR COMMUTE?Send ideas to or via Twitter @swhelman.