Have All Roller Skating Rinks Closed?

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KristinaW

KristinaW

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  • #1
I remember back when I was a kid, roller skating rinks were all the rage. I used to live in Danbury, Connecticut and Rollerland was a big place to go roller skating. I think I went there back in 1984 for a school trip and that's when I saw Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video for the very first time. The long one. Everyone in the place stopped skating to watch the video. What an incredible memory to have.

I was just wondering the fate of all the roller skating rinks that used to exist. I know Rollerland and Rollerworld in Connecticut are now closed, but what happened to all the rest? I was watching some videos on YouTube last night about roller skating in the 80s and it seems like everyone loved it. How can something like that just die off? Why did the enthusiasm for skating disappear?
 
KodyWallice

KodyWallice

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  • #2
From what I hear, while skating rinks used to be very popular, there's sort of a comeback with them. New ones are actually being built right now. I guess people still want to skate.

I think real estate prices, utilities, and property taxes closed many rinks down. It's the same thing that happened to so many nightclubs. People are only willing to pay a certain price to go skating and if the rink raises those prices to coincide with their costs, they'll lose all their customers. The only option for many of these places is to close down and move to locations where it's less expensive to do business. And I think that's what they've done.

If you think about it, this is what the rinks were and are up against. A decent sized rink is about 30,000 square feet. The building to house that costs millions, not to mention all the expenses that are incurred inside. Outside, parking needs to be expansive as well with parking lots that need to hold 500 cars. If someone wanted to open up a skating rink in a popular location, they'd have to fork over millions per acre of bare land and then pay the property taxes on it. It's just too much. Especially since not that many people go skating anymore.

I don't really want to get into how absolutely horrible today's music is, but I guess I can't avoid it. Roller skating became popular in the disco era when people enjoyed "dancing" to their music. If a rink were to open today, they'd have to rely on 70s and 80s music to keep the vibe going. They couldn't use today's music. And since not too many in the younger generations know of 80s music, there wouldn't be the draw that once was.
 
15Katey

15Katey

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  • #3
Not to mention the onset of roller blades. The only places I used to be able to use my four wheel skates was at the rink. When roller blades came out, people began skating anywhere, which was a huge threat to the rinks. I'm sure that didn't help the finances any.

Here are a few links that can offer a heck of a lot more information than I can:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/whatever-happened-to-roller-skating/362100/
https://excelrollerrinkconsultants.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/the-rise-and-downfall-of-roller-skating/
https://nypost.com/2020/06/05/roller-skating-surges-in-popularity-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
https://www.northeastohioparent.com/blogger/whatever-happened-to-roller-skating/
https://www.footfiles.com/wellness/...history-of-roller-skating-12-surprising-facts

'80s Skate Night


Columbus' Adult Roller Skating Scene

 
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