Can Rollerskates Be Cool Again?

As a kid growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we only had roller skates, not the new fangled roller blades. Wearing them always made me feel as tall as a tree (not that I was short) and super-strong. I loved skating around the court where I grew up in Howard Beach on the concrete sidewalk and in the parking area in the back of the court.

A little history: back in the 18th century, people were hip to the idea of attaching wheels to their feet to get around faster. The 1970’s were a cultural coming of age period for roller-skating; it’s when they became a significant part of American culture,pushed along by new technology and improved skating materials. As a result, wheels and skates became slicker and faster. Thousands of  roller rinks opened across the United States, many adding a disco sound track with a disco ball sparkling from above. We’d rock out to K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Donna Summer, ABBA and more.

ABBA Performing their '70s hit, Waterloo

Today, there are no roller rinks in New York City that I know of. An article in today’s New York Times speaks about roller skating and the iconic rinks in Staten Island and New Jersey. Perhaps there is a bit of a resurgence in progress due to renewed interest in the 1970s; this is good news.  The 1970s age of roller skating is well-captured in the film, Roll Bounce (2005) and in this outtake of Skatetown USA featuring Patrick Swayze.. I myself, would love to roller skate again; I tried roller blading, which is fun, but, to me, just doesn’t have the same appeal.

About The Playtime Mom

Unofficial NYC ambassador, play advocate, toy and youth entertainment industry insider and mom
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