It's spring in New York: Time to swap those ice skates for quads. Here’s where to roller-skate, whether you’re after fitness, fun or an excuse to wear bell-bottoms. Klutzes can opt to watch instead: Saturday 13 marks the season opener of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, when the Manhattan Mayhem and Bronx Gridlock will attempt to bodycheck and jam their way to victory.
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If you associate skating rinks with childhood birthday parties, try rolling through this alcohol-infused, ’70s-inspired soiree. Expect a 300-plus crowd of mostly millennials wearing neon spandex, headbands and tube socks. Get there early as the rental skates go fast, but even pedestrian partiers can groove to the disco rhythms spun by resident DJs Rok One and Mike Dextro, plus a special guest for the evening: seminal New York DJ-producer Justin Strauss.Read more
After rinks like the Roxy in Chelsea and the Empire Roller Skating Center in Brooklyn closed in 2007, regulars needed a new place to roll. That’s why Lezly Ziering, an 80-year-old self-described “skate guru,” started this group in 2008. Every Wednesday night, a mixed crowd—from teenagers to old-timers—gathers to glide along hardwood floors to retro jazz, R&B and reggae. Don’t be surprised if you see some of the more advanced skaters performing tricks like the Crazy Leg, the club’s namesake walking-in-place toe move. 212-777-3232, crazylegsskateclub.com. $10, rental $5.Read more
Hurricane Sandy devastated this rink, but on Friday 12, it’ll reopen following extensive repairs. Welcome it back by testing out the new bright-blue plywood floor and playing a game of Skee-Ball in the recently added arcade. The spot is popular with families, especially on Fridays, when visitors can snag free all-you-can-eat pizza (7–10pm) and listen to chart hits. Avoid the rugrats by coming on Saturday nights, when you’re more likely to see dudes doing body shots and girls skating on the bar, while DJ Tito spins a mix of ’70s and ’80s tunes. 718-605-6600, rollerjamusa.com. Fri 7pm–1am, Sat 1–8pm; $9.50, rental $4.50. Sat 9pm–2am; $11.50, rental $4.50.Read more
Each week, dozens of in-line skaters cruise along different routes for two hours during this hump-day social; the group has previously wheeled through Central Park, Queens, Brooklyn and even New Jersey. All skill levels are welcome as long as you can stop and turn, and because you’ll be rolling on the road, helmets and wrist guards are obligatory. The diverse club includes college kids and retirees, which makes for interesting postride conversation at Mumbles (179 Third Ave at 17th St; 212-477-6066, mumblesnyc.com), the usual end-point bar.Read more
The park’s roller-party scene burst into being in the late ’70s, but gatherings were often shut down due to excessive noise and allegations of substance abuse. In the mid-’90s the Central Park Dance Skaters Association (cpdsa.org) was formed to help mend relationships with the city; today, the group’s weekend parties are—like ice skating—an established item on the park’s calendar. From April until October, old-schoolers and young enthusiasts rock flashy outfits and boogie down to R&B, dance and house music. Bring your own skates or rent a pair from the nearby Skate Truck (skatetrucknyc.com; two hours $15, four hours $20, all-day $25; includes helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, park map and equipment bag). Or just sit on the sidelines—regulars often show off tricks that make this party as entertaining to watch as it is to join.Read more