A beloved roller rink in Bed-Stuy shuttered suddenly this week, reports The Gothamist.
After a sudden closure announced via Instagram on Wednesday, skaters discovered that the rink was no longer able to operate out of the Salvation Army gymnasium after more than a decade of biweekly skate sessions.
“Unfortunately the rumors are true,” the post read. “We're unable to keep using the space in Bed-Stuy for our skate nights.”
The skate sessions had been on a hiatus for the month of August and were slated to restart on Wednesday. But skate instructor Edward Jacobs discovered that the Salvation Army decided not to let the roller-skaters return. The group instead opted to expand the hours of the gym's youth basketball league.
In a statement, the Salvation Army said it was ending skate nights at the Bed-Stuy space to make room for other programming. With this new decision, Brooklyn Skates is already asking for help to find a new location to call home.
"Across the 18 community centers we operate in the five boroughs, we offer after-school programs, cooling and heating centers, senior programs, basketball and other sports, music and art classes, ESL classes, food pantry and feeding programs, and other critical services," the statement read. "To better meet the needs of the local community and ensure the wellbeing and safety of all our clients and staff, the Salvation Army will no longer run skate nights at our Bed-Stuy gymnasium, but will continue to serve the community through other programs and services."
A petition put out on Tuesday called on people to help find Brooklyn Skates a new home garnered nearly 500 signatures overnight. Nasilele Holland, 41, started the petition after hearing the news from an assistant manager at the rink. Since she started skating earlier this year and was noticeably devastated by the news as the rink has become like her home.
“It’s like you gotta sweep me out of here with a broom,” Holland said. “I feel like I haven’t felt that type of community since I was a child.”
Roller-skaters first started using the Bed-Stuy gym, originally called Crazy Legs Skate Club, after its founding by the late skating icon Lezly Ziering in 2008. In recent years it catered to an older, more experienced crowd of skaters, but during the pandemic the space saw an uptick in interest from many younger skaters.
“People are gonna be hurt, same thing when all the rinks closed,” said Edwards, a near lifelong skater who watched all of his favorite haunts shutter in the early 2000s, from Empire in Crown Heights, to the Roxy in Chelsea, and Hot Skates in the Bronx. “Everybody’s hurt and all you can do is just get over it.”