GREENWICH — Mianus River locals say they’ve seen hundreds of people skating, playing, skiing and fishing on the river’s frozen ice the past few days.

And people keep coming, despite the bright red warning signs that skating on the river is forbidden.

“For good reason, I don't think the town allows skating out there,” said Rick Margenot, a lifelong Greenwich resident who lives on the river. “They take (liability) very seriously. There are a lot people they are responsible for.”

His mother, he said, always warned him to be careful on the ice because it wasn’t reliable.

For hours Wednesday, men, women, children and pets roamed the shores and tested the ice on the river until town employee Teddy Mammone drove up in a town vehicle to plant more signs in the area and usher people off the ice.

“We are putting up extra signs. There's a sign there already, and — the more the merrier I guess," he said.

“It’s all about danger, safety,” said Mammone. “You can’t test the ice, especially on the river because it’s moving. One area, you could have five inches of ice and another area you could have one inch. We haven’t had skating for a decade. It's been abolished.”

Despite the rules, the river has been a draw since the continued cold snap held up the first person brave — or foolish — enough to test the surface.

The first day Margenot came out on the ice this season was Dec. 28.

“My mother had a point,” Margenot said.

“You have to proceed with caution — but it is a good sign when you see people out there... There are people having fires and cookouts on the river, the ice fisher people are out... There’s a lot of people coming out: skiiers, hockey players, dog walkers.”

In the Facebook Group “You Know You’re from Greenwich, CT if...” Margenot posted ice skating photos from Dec. 31 that garnered almost 300 likes since they went up and sparked countless memories of a Greenwich from years past.

Greenwich native Chris Wolfe remembered when Central Junior High School used to have hockey practices on the Mianus River before the Dorothy Hamill rink opened.

Wolfe said he was on the team in 1971.

“Grandma lived on Bruce Park Avenue Extension,” wrote Colleen Hennessey in a comment, “so we all naturally went skating at Bruce Park. Also learned to swim and ice skate in Mianus River because our aunt, uncle and cousins.”

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, the river showed outdoor explorers in a variety of activities — including Jim Carr and John Nelson cross-country skiing across the snowy ice.

Nelson, 74, said he remembered his uncle recounting when the Long Island Sound froze far enough to allow passersby to trek out to Island Beach. Nelson himself said the ponds and rivers nearby and near his home offer plentiful terrain.

“We go cross-country skiing every day,” he said. “Lakes and ponds are better in this weather for skiing. It’s beautiful because it’s so quiet. This is really nature at its best.”

Michael Genaro, decked out in hockey gear, had brought a goal net and puck to the ice, and began shoveling excess snow off a small, square-shaped area and began smoothing the area for play.

“I’d say (the ice has) got to be eight to 10 inches by now,” the 20-year-old Genaro said.

“We were down last Friday,” he said. “Over the weekend there were probably 50 to 100 people out here.”

Alex LoParco, 20, who had accompanied Gennaro, said the pair were waiting for a few others before they got started, but were aware that they could be kicked off the ice at any time.

“It didn’t freeze last year or the year before that,” LoParco said, “...but when I came with my brother a couple years ago, the cops came and told us to get off the ice.”

Kelly Wiegold, 21, and Jennifer Whitehill, 21, hopped on the ice with Wiegold’s foster dog, Tommy, and the Weigold family pet, Antoine.

Whitehill walked the 4-month-old Tommy, who is awaiting adoption through Pet Rescue NY. His leash was bright green and said “Adopt Me!”

We came here to “just walk around the ice,” Whitehill said letting Tommy lead the way while they walked around in circles. "This is my first time, but what scares me is that it’s a river moving underneath. It looks thick, though."

“People have been here all week,” said Wiegold, squeezing a dog toy in her pocket. “They had a snowblower and were blowing the snow off the ice while I was here last time.”

Email Jennifer Turiano at and follow her on Twitter: @jturianoGT and Instagram: @greenwichgreen.