Party like it's 1979 with our roundup of roller rinks and skate parties. Whether you're looking to hit up a retro dance party for a vintage feel or want an alternative to ice skating, we've got all the free-wheeling you could need in the city. Be sure to suit up with some picks from our favorite vintage stores in NYC.
Roller skating in NYC
Have you ever wanted to dress up like a character from Xanadu, The Great Gatsby, or the "Thriller" video and then go dance in a park with a lot of other like-minded people? Join the insanity at Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Discos, where you'll need to unleash your inner Rollerblade vixen to keep up with the crowd and whatever the theme happens to be that week. A DJ will be blasting gems from the disco era to present day all night long, making not only the LeFrak Center at Prospect Park’s Lakeside the coolest roller rink this side of 1978, but also Rockaway Beach (Roller Hockey Rink at Beach 108. Sat 7–11pm) and Coney Island (3050 Stilwell Ave. Sun at noon).
You can glide with beautiful waterfront views as your backdrop at the alfresco rolling rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The best time to go is during the Pier’s free public skate (3–6pm), where you can spin around to Top 40 hits. Regular admission for the public skate sets you back five bucks (skate rental $6), but the real fun happens during Adult Night (8–11pm), where you can groove to tunes from a Live DJ, while enjoying those bright, cityscape lights.
Superstorm Sandy nearly demolished this rink, but now it’s back and stronger than ever. Take a whirl on the new bright-blue plywood floor and play a game of Skee-Ball in the new 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.
Each week starting in April through October, dozens of in-line skaters cruise along different routes for two hours during this totally free 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, usually taking place at an end-point bar. Meet at the South end of Union Square Park (14th St) near the stars at 7:45pm.
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 ’90s, the Central Park Dance Skaters Association (cpdsa.org) was formed to help mend relationships with the city. The group continues to host weekend parties—like ice skating—which are established items 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 just sit on the sidelines—regulars often show off tricks that make this party as entertaining to watch as it is to join.
Looking for more fun fitness options?
It’s easy to get stuck in a fitness rut. If you do work out, you have that one standby class you swear by…and that’s about it. Experts say if you want to get the best results for your bod, it’s a good idea to change up your routine. That’s where these ten new fitness classes come in. And if you’re looking for more ways to get toned, check out our roundups of the best weird NYC fitness classes, top spinning classes and the best gyms and health clubs in NYC. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to fitness classes in NYC