How to Drive a Zamboni

How to Drive a Zamboni

Attention ice skaters! Please stop skating now and exit the rink ... A journalist is operating the Zamboni! (NYT)

Automotive journalist Nick Kurczewski takes a turn at driving a Zamboni — a big, boxy resurfacing machine on wheels that cleans and smoothes skating rink ice. At Battery Park City Ice Rink in Lower Manhattan, Kurczewski gets a lesson on hydraulics, blade adjustment, snow brakes and transmission control — a rather complex set of instructions for a machine that basically goes backwards and forwards in slow motion.

The charm of this New York Times video is the child-like glee the reporter — a man who usually test-drives high-performance vehicles — seems to get from his big chance at the wheel of a slug-like Zamboni. The video’s quick pace and clever use of type, frame speed and multiple images keeps the action moving. Simple touches such as illustrating Kurczewski’s looming launch time with numbers that ominously grow on the screen adds humor to what could have been a routine report.

At the conclusion, Kurczewski pronounces the experience “cool … but cold,” and is presented with an official ice resurfacing operator certificate. The camera pulls back to a colorful night scene of skaters, followed by the Zamboni zooming around to Scott Joplin music, which can’t help but leave the viewer smiling.

CHANNEL: New York Times

Length: 4:10

Produced by Stefania Rousselle
Images by Robert Wimmer