Roller skating is not dead, but Lola Staar’s Dreamland roller rink might be. Dreamland, located in the historic Child’s Building in Coney Island, was funded when Diane Carlin won a contest sponsored by Glamour magazine and Tommy Hilfiger, where she described her dream project in a video.
In one pink-and-orange-themed night at the end of March, over 1,000 people, from families to professionals, flocked to the roller rink.
“People are so desperate for a roller rink in the city,” said Carlin.
After the event, Carlin said she received about 1,000 emails from people saying they missed roller skating at the old rinks like Empire, which closed last year. But so far, the dream lasted only one night. Now Carlin is pushing to make Dreamland a reality by hosting two fundraisers on June 13 and 15. Both events feature burlesque, live music, dancing and video projections of vintage Coney Island.
“My real goal is to open up the be-all-to-end-all roller rink,” Carlin said, adding that it would include a bar, restaurant, fancy decorations and a cloud painted ceiling modeled after the one in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel.
“I would welcome the addition of a roller rink in the city,” said Margot Atwood, member of the Sweet Action Skate Club. “It could raise the profile of roller skating.”
Skaters now must head to Roller Jam USA in Staten Island, a trip to a roller rink in New Jersey, or skate in the street. Because of the lack of practice space, the roller derby team Queens of Pain use a warehouse in Queens covered with “sport court,” the same flooring material Dreamland used for their rink.
“There is no way for people to say, ‘Yeah, I roller skate all the time and this is where I do it,’ because there are no places to do it,” said Karin Bruce, founder of Gotham Girls, the New York City roller derby league. Roller skaters across the city hope this will change.
“It’s come full circle,” said Bruce. “It’s gaining popularity again.”
Photo by Norman Blake
Fundraisers will take place June 13, 8 pm, at Peggy O’Neil’s, 1904 Surf Ave in Coney Island (btwn. W 19 and 20 Streets) $10-20 donations, and June 15, 8 pm, at Superfine, 126 Front St. in Brooklyn (btwn. Jay and Pearl Streets) $10/$20 donations.