What Are Some Facts About the Empire Skating Rink in Brooklyn?


Quick Answer

Facts about the Empire Roller Skating Center in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York, include that it opened in 1941 and closed in 2007. The original name of the rink was the Empire Rollerdrome.

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Full Answer

The rink was originally a parking garage used by Ebbet's Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played until 1957. The Swanson family, who originally built the rink, was involved in the flooring business and created a state-of-the-art maple floor. The building hosted a range of events, including boxing matches, bowling events and miniature-golf events.

In the 1960s, roller rinks became popular places for roller dancing, which later evolved into roller disco, and this rink was one of the first to popularize the phenomenon. The Empire Roller Skating Center was known for creating the Wobbly Duck and the Brooklyn Bounce, and it was the first rink to replace organ music with a live DJ; the famous DJ Big Bob played music at the disco for more than 15 years.

The rink was approximately 30,000 square feet in size, making it much larger than typical rinks, and held more than 1,000 skaters simultaneously. The rink first closed in 1998. Two years later, the nationwide chain United Skates of America purchased and reopened it before it finally closed for good in 2007.

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