DJ Trent, host of WFMU's "Sound and Safe" program, brings us this late-breaking report...
Boy, these past couple of weeks have been really good for Death. Or bad for Life. Whatever. Anyway, another thing is dying this weekend: Empire Roller Skating Center, the "Birthplace of Roller Disco" and Brooklyn's last remaining roller rink.
If you're a fan of moving and dancing to music or getting unhinged in general, this is the place to be, for tonight and tomororow at least. About a thousand people cram in there and strut their stuff, from slowpoke poseurs like me to folks who have probably been going there since the place opened 30 years ago.
This Tuesday (Ladies Night!) "World Famous Skate DJ" Big Bob played the best dance set I've ever experienced. And man, what a place to hear a good DJ set. The sound system was really, really loud and suprisingly clear for something with so much volume. Everyone on the rink was there to party. And the selections were weird and wonderful techno / disco / R&B jams I'd never heard. It's hard to dance while you're skating, but skating fast to the beat works well instead of dancing, usually.
The fenced-off area in the center of the big rink is the epicenter of the movement. Here are some people dancing to something that sounds like Arthur Russell, only more SKATE.
If you go, dress to impress: stripes and big graphics are good. Don't even think of knocking back a few brewskies before you head in - you'll need all of your brain skills intact or you'll get run over. But if you do get run over it won't be that big of a deal and someone will help you up. Or you can just hang out at the baby rink.
Saturday is the last night to get in on the action at 200 Empire Blvd. More info on "The Last Skate" - with a free buffet and speical skate performances! - available here.
The magic isn't dying completely though: Big Bob and his crew will be hosting Empire Tuesday nights at Branch Brook Park Skate Center in Newark, starting next week. But something tells me it won't be QUITE
the same thing.
Unfortnately, I only found out about this magical place a few weeks ago. Does anyone else out there have any stories from Empire?