Wheely Fun: Where to Roller Skate With Kids

Looking for a little retro, rolling fun for the whole family? You don’t have to like disco or join the derby to enjoy roller skating. While there are fewer roller rinks in the NYC metro area than there used to be, you can still find spots to get your skate on. (We found 10!) Introduce the kids to the fun of cruising ‘round the rink or ‘hood (or let them introduce you) at these rockin’ rinks. Click through to get rolling! 

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To Skate With a Stellar View

Brooklyn Bridge Park Facebook page

Remember the opening montage of the movie Manhattan?  Then you might hear an orchestra playing “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin once you get an eyeful of the Pier 2 Roller Skating Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park.  You’ll see the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline over the East River from this 180-foot by 75-foot rink with a poured epoxy surface — which is softer for falls than concrete. Beginners can rent a “skate mate,” a plastic support similar to a walker to lean on while learning.   They have public skate hours almost every day, but check out their schedule for details, and keep in mind that they offer group packages and birthday parties for reasonable rates, too.

Cost: $9 for a two-hour session; skate rental $6; skate mate rental $6.  Hot tip!: Admission is free on Mondays and Fridays from 3-6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon (skate and skate mate rental still charged.)

Pier 2, 150 Furman St.
Brooklyn Heights
Online: brooklynbridgeskating.com

To Roll On The River(bank)

photo: Elizabeth T. via Yelp 

Riverbank State Park’s covered outdoor roller rink—the only one in all of Manhattan—was recently remodeled to feature a brand-new concrete floor, white dasher boards, new Plexiglass sides and lots of other cosmetic fixes. Admission is cheap and they also have a snack bar on site, and offer lessons and birthday packages. When you’re done skating, there’s plenty of other fun to be had at this uptown jewel of a park, including pools, an athletic complex, ball courts, playgrounds, a water splashing area, an amphitheater, a restaurant and spectacular promenade views of the Hudson River, the Palisades and the George Washington Bridge. Cost: Admission/$1.50; skate rental/$6679 Riverside Dr. Harlem 212-694-3642 Online: parks.ny.gov/parks/93/details.aspx photo: Elizabeth T. via Yelp 

To Catch Staten Island Fever

Michael H. via Yelp

RollerJam USA will take you back to the days of roller disco, with pumping music, a smoke machine, colorful lights and, of course, a whirling disco ball.  But this venue offers more than just skating, with a full arcade downstairs, teen concert nights and private bounce parties available to schedule for children’s parties.  Besides RollerJam’s regular open skates, Friday nights are free pizza nights, and Saturdays at 9 p.m. adult party night starts complete with a full bar, so plan accordingly. The rink offers additional hours during school breaks, too, so be sure to check the schedule for updates.

Cost: Open skate admission/$10.50; skate rental/$4.95

36 Richmond Valley Rd.
Staten Island
Online: rollerjamusa.com

To Roll It Old School

Talk about old school, the E.J. Murray Memorial Skating Center has been operating in Yonkers since 1960. Hit the rink here from mid-May to August on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A snack bar in on site, and lessons, are also available. You can also host a birthday party here.

Cost: Admission $6; $2/seniors; $4/skate rental

348 Tuckahoe Rd.
Online:  yonkersny.gov

For Daytime Fun & Nighttime Dates

LeFrak Lakeside

By day at LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park, you get a great family skating experience.  The popular 16,000-square-foot roller rink is open for regular public skating, lessons and roller hockey.   They have skate sizes down to a toddler’s 7, and are conveniently next to other activities like bike rental, boating on the lake, and the summer Splash Pad fountains for cooling off.  They also offer packages for groups and celebrating birthdays on wheels.But, as they said in the 1980s song, the freaks come out at night, so Friday nights the rink transforms into Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco.  Each week the 21-and-over party showcases a new theme from 70s Glitter to 80s Glam to a Beyoncé tribute, complete with dazzling performers, roller dance lessons, kitschy contests, giveaways and more.  These fêtes do sell out, so try to buy tickets early.  Theme-inspired attire is highly encouraged, so if you get a sitter and go, feel free to dress the part.

Cost: Weekdays admission/$6, skate rental/$6; weekends and holidays admission/$8, skate rental/$6; Roller disco $18 and up for packages

Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside
171 East Dr.
Prospect Park
Online: lakesidebrooklyn.com; dreamlandrollerrink.com


For Blazing Skating

Hot Skates in Lynbrook, Long Island has been open since 1980, and you can feel the history from the maple-wood rink surface up to the multiple whirling mirrorballs above.  (Not to mention this fun TV commercial from 1984 they have on their Facebook page.)  Public skating hours are only on Thurs.-Sun. from September through June 25, but more days and hours are added to accommodate your summertime skating jones in July and August. And remember: they only take cash, so bring your bills with you.

Cost: Admission $11-15 depending on day and time; $4/skate rental
14 Merrick Rd.
Online: hotskates.com

To Roll With Trolls

There’s a lot happening at Newark’s Branch Brook Park rink, one of the largest in the tristate area. In addition to an arcade and a café, the rink hosts a variety of theme nights, from $2 Skate Mondays, to Sophisticated Sundays all-adult skate, to a “Troll Roll” with costumed characters, all-you-can-eat pizza, drinks and face painting.  Check the rink’s schedule to see what’s going on each week. Worth noting: if you just want to chaperone your kids without rolling, they offer a lower fee for adult spectators.

Cost: Admission price varies by night and time; skate rental/$4; skate mate rental/$7; locker rental/$0.50

7th Ave. & Clifton Ave.
Newark, Nj
Online: unitedskates.com

To Roll With a Crowd

photo: Ericka C. via Yelp 

The United Skates of America franchise rink in Seaford, Long Island has enough room for 500 skaters and plenty of fun things to do.  They have 20 arcade games to play, a café, and lots of special promotions and events, like free admission for Girl and Boy Scouts several times this May (you must reserve in advance) holiday specials, half-price nights and laser light skates on Friday nights.  Lessons and skate mates are available, several kinds of parties can be booked, and they even run a skate camp.

Cost: Admission price varies by night and time; skate rental/$5; skate mate rental/$7

1276 Hicksville Rd.
Online: unitedskates.com


To Skate Jersey Famiglia Style

Florham Park Roller Rink is family-owned and family-oriented, just like the places you might remember if you were a Jersey kid. The rink is well-maintained and often full of short-stack skaters.  There are arcade games and a snack bar, and they can give lessons and parties. Public skate hours are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while Tuesdays through Thursdays are reserved for private events. Cost: Admission$6.50/afternoon, $7.50/evening; skate rental/$4 192 Ridgedale Ave. Florham Park, Nj 973-377-0465 Online: florhamparkrollerrink.com

To Take It To The Street

Central Park skating

So, you wanna be a rebel?  There are a number of skating groups that skate in the city and won’t stick to the rinks.  Because of this, you have to have your own skate equipment.  Adults and kids should have helmets and pads, and have some skating skills.  Because you’ll be skating in public it’s at your own risk, but if you and your kids are at a decent level of ability and want to give it go, here’s the info: The Central Park Dance Skaters Association is the grandaddy of the bunch, and manages free roller skating sessions at The Skate Circle in Central Park in partnership with the City Agencies—Parks Department, the Police Department and the Central Park Conservancy—obtaining all permits necessary to organize legally-sanctioned, safe and secure events. They provide live DJ music on most weekends for skating and notify the public about when there will be skating and when it will be preempted on their website, Facebook and Twitter feed email newsletter. Other clubs hold public skates on different nights of the week (some on public streets) so check with them to see if they allow children and if your child is ready for that kind of skating session. You can find information on skating clubs and other places to skate in public via the New York City Inline Skating Guide site.

Did we miss your rad rink? Tell us about it in the comments! 

— Gretchen Kunz


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