Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Roller Rink is not the First in Brooklyn Heights

When Brooklyn Bridge Park’s roller rink opened earlier this summer, skaters were thinking about the great view and probably not the history of the activity in Brooklyn Heights.

Ephemeral New York reports on an 1880s rink located at corner of Orange and Fulton Streets (a corner that no longer exists). A collection of Victorian era Fulton Street trading cards digitized by the Brooklyn Public Library uncovered this “mystery”.

As for the rink ENY quotes a Brooklyn Eagle story from October 1886:

“‘The roller skating craze has passed away, as regards popular favor,’ said a former proprietor of a Brooklyn roller rink to an Eagle reporter.”

“‘Roller skating is like love—once dead, it can never be revived. The first established rinks realized immense profits. At this time last year, no less than 20 rinks were open in this city.

“Many did a good business, but others lost money. The best year for roller skating was the Winter and Spring of 1883 and 1884.’”

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  • ujh

    Homer, thank you for this tidbit. I’m amazed by how popular roller skating still appears to be, at least at the Pier 2 rink. We would be fortunate, indeed, if the rink could be converted to an ice skating rink after it closes in November. Its protection from the sun would be an advantage and cut down on cooling costs.

  • cindy s

    Does anyone remember the HUGE roller rink at
    The foot of Coney Island Avenue at parkside ave
    At the Circle…near where Ocean parkway/the just-
    then-Built BQE runs? The place was BIG a sort of
    Avalon ballroom for skates…GREAT memories
    of the 1940’s and 50’s….remember when the
    Coney Island Ave Trollies tracks ran right
    through the circle?