I’ve been targeted by a friend who is trying to stay sober as a “sober activity partner”. Apparently I’m someone with whom you can enjoy a good time without drinking and who is willing to engage in ridiculous activities as opposed to sitting in a dark bar and listening to one’s friends repeat themselves. That’s how I got wrangled into roller disco.
Knowing that I love Coney Island, my friend suggested we attend this event at the Dreamland roller rink
Initially, I said ‘yes’ to this, but then as Saturday came ’round and I hadn’t accomplished anything all week (except exhausting summer camp) I sort of backtracked and suggested instead that we go skating during the day in Central Park. She wanted to do both, but I guaranteed her that after an afternoon of skating after 30 years of not, we would not be able to do both. I was right.
I met her at Modell’s at Herald Square, where she was trying on a pair of white skates with pink wheels and stoppers. Cute. My own skates (yes, I own roller skates) are made by Sketchers and look like I personally took the roller part off of a legitimate skate and fastened them to the bottom of a tennis shoe. This created quite a stir in the skate aisle. But they are comfortable–as long as I am not falling on my face!
After she got all outfitted, we went to her office to drop off her stuff, flung our skates over our shoulder, and took the subway to Central Park. We were too wussy to try to skate there in the street. After sitting on a curb and lacing up, we psyched each other out to jump into the stream of spawning wheeled things (bikes, roller blades, strollers, skateboards) which was flowing by us at an unstoppable pace. It took a few minutes to warm up, but soon we were rolling forward and breaking a sweat. It was difficult! We had to stop every 1/4 mile and regroup on a pylon or fence. We stopped for water. We stopped and just talked about how skating is so very difficult. Then we finally stopped and took off our skates and walked to where the Dance Skating takes place!
There is a little area in Central Park where the Central Park Skate Dancers Association meets with their awesome sound system and dancers.
We stood with the other spectators, watching the characters groove to Michael Jackson. Of course. Because somebody passed a law in the past 10 days that if you are playing music in public it has to be Michael Jackson. You wouldn’t want to leave the house some day and NOT hear Michael Jackson, right? Geesh.
Anyway, so while we were marveling as a muscley guy with homemade towel bloomers on, balanced several full water bottles on his head while he skated, we debated whether or not to get into the ring. To say we were intimidated is an understatement. But yet, there was a sizable group of people in there just dancing without skates, so couldn’t we just put skates on and dance in place? So we debated some more. Meanwhile, we witnessed a man in his 60s, wearing a Superman t-shirt, doing a sideways shoot-the-moon–barely scraping the shit out of his shoulder and thigh. And a hot grandma on roller blades adjusting and re-adjusting her low cut top to make the most of her assets. Then “Jersey Dude” skated by, looking like this was a dirty secret he kept from his buddies. Groovy couples glided by us, spinning and twirling each other. I fell in love with a statuesque Nubian woman with a backless yellow top as she just kicked and spun. Finally, a tall sporty blond spotted us standing there with our skates and said, “What are you doing watching? Come IN!” So we did.
We were self-conscious, but it didn’t stop us from having fun, even though right as we went into the ring they started playing some awful euro trance music instead of the Michael Jackson we had been appreciating. We hung out among the characters for awhile, just skating in circles or trying to keep a beat without falling on our asses. My friend was much better at it than I am, but then again she is a better dancer in general. We decided to leave, but my shoes were under the ass of the beautiful Nubian. So I started a conversation with her and she was the nicest!
As we left we wondered how these people got started in skate dancing. Have they been doing it since the 70s? Were they like us and just kind of wandered into it? All I know is that I do not need another thing to practice. As much as I’d like to get good at it and to make friends with the freaks, I don’t have the time for yet another interest. As it is, I have crossed many things off my list in an attempt to focus. Miniature donkeys take precedence over roller disco.