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The Roller Wave
Photograph: Courtesy Mike Schmidt

The best places to go roller-skating in NYC

Go roller-skating at NYC's best roller rinks and clubs.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Now more than ever, New Yorkers are in the mood for the nostalgia and joy that roller-skating brings. The retro, wheeled activity has been around for some time, especially in the Black community, which has been heralding its return to the mainstream again. You can have a summer of skates with our roundup of roller rinks and skate parties. And be sure to suit up with some picks from our favorite vintage stores in NYC.

Roller skating in NYC

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • Prospect Park

Have you ever wanted to dress up like a character from Xanadu, The Great Gatsby or Donna Summer and dance and skate with other like-minded people? Join the insanity at Coney Island icon Lola Star’s infamous roller disco at Lakeside Prospect Park, where you need to unleash your inner Roller Blade vixen to keep up with the crowd. Costumes are highly encouraged at this kitschy and mostly adults-only roller-skate dance party, so be sure to dress to dazzle your fellow skaters. Make sure to check dreamlandrollerink.com for the full schedule so that you know what costume to wear! 

To kick off the season, Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco will be at the new Flipper's pop-up at Rockefeller Center on Friday, May 13, with retro DJ sets.

  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace has moved into The Rink at Rockefeller Center, bringing roller skating to the golden Prometheus. Opening on Friday, the roller rink straight from California will host DJ sets, live music performances, concerts, roller boogie nights and skating lessons through October. Before your one-hour rink time, you can use the locker room to store your things and put your skates on. Afterward, you can return your skates before checking out Flipper's at Rockefeller Center merch. (There's also a store at the Channel Gardens that sells gear and merch from Flipper's, including exclusive items made for this NYC stint.) Timed tickets must be reserved online in advance at flippers.world.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Central Park has announced the launch of a new immersive, musical and theatrical experience at its own Wollman Rink starting June 16. The ongoing happening is officially dubbed The DiscOasis and it will stay put through October 1. First off, New Yorkers will get to partake in a variety of programs and theatrical performances with live DJs and special guests throughout the experience's run. There will also be open skate sessions during the day and food and beverage offerings all around the area. The iconic Nile Rodgers joins in on the fun as well, curating a special playlist of "skate-worthy, groove-inducing tracks for each night's local DJ to spin fresh for skaters and dancers," reads an official press release about the launch. Tickets for the experience—which first launched to much fanfare in Los Angeles—are already available for purchase right here. Skating sessions will be available from 10am to 10pm on Wednesdays through Sundays once the experience officially opens.

 

  • Things to do
  • Brooklyn Heights

Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 2 to skate with a beautiful view of the city. While the roller rink is used by a hockey league twice a week, it is open for public skates most days in the summertime for just $6. It's free on Mondays and Fridays between 3:30 and 6pm. Skate rentals are just $7-$11 depending on the day. If you're looking for some extra fun, the rink regularly hosts themed nights!

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Prospect Park

When it's not a roller disco on Friday nights, Lakeside’s outdoor roller skating rink provides pop hits you can skate to while taking in views of Prospect Park Lake. Starting at 11am on weekdays and noon on weekends, admission is only $8 during the week and $12 on weekends and holidays. Rentals are $8 daily. Check out its website for programs you can join, including roller skating classes, roller dance lessons, and hockey leagues. 

RollerJam USA
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Staten Island

Superstorm Sandy nearly demolished this rink, but 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 arcade. The spot is popular with families, especially on Fridays when visitors can snag $2 pizza slices (7–9pm) and listen to chart hits. Avoid the rugrats by coming on Saturday nights (9pm-2am), when you’re more likely to see dudes doing body shots and girls skating on the bar, while the DJ spins a mix of ’70s and ’80s tunes. It's just $15 admission and $5 for rentals.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

JFK Airport's retro TWA Hotel is once again rolling out its Roll-A-Rama at the Runway Rink for the season! The 44-by-56 outdoor roller rink made up of 2,668 checkered tiles will be open Fridays from 4 to 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8pm, weather permitting. On the rink, you'll skate to retro tunes while airplanes take off nearby for 50 minutes! Each session is $20 for adults and $16 for kids under 12. Rentals of the four-wheeled quad skates are included. Advanced tickets aren't a thing so it's first-come, first-served. While you're there, you should make a day of it and check out the cocktail bar inside the Connie and take so many photos inside the hotel itself. Inside, there are immersive museum exhibits on TWA, the Jet Age and the midcentury modern design movement, a Twister Room, where guests can play a wall-to-wall version of the 1960s game, as well as plenty of dining options if you're hungry, from The Paris Café and The Sunken Lounge to the grab-and-go dining in the Food Hall. Bring your bathing suit—there's a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck with runway views.

  • Things to do

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.

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  • Things to do

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.

  • Bars
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant

It's not a rink per say, but All Night Skate is a bar that encapsulates all the joy, attitude and ephemera of a roller rink and encourages patrons to wear their skates inside by giving them 10% off drinks. Speaking of which, cocktails are designed by co-owner Olivia Hu, who bartended at Sunrise/Sunset. Try the one with the Pop Rocks and chili rim called the "Poppin' Off."

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