Last weekend, Central Park hosted its first skate circles of the season, complete with a DJ and dozens of skaters and spectators. As an admittedly novice roller skater who took up the hobby mid-pandemic, I’ve struggled to find skate-friendly spots in the city. The closest to campus, besides our wildly overcrowded quad, is the skateboarder-dominated Tompkins Square Park Skate Park. Occasionally, I venture to the West Side, only to get yelled at by enraged cyclists on the Hudson River Waterfront Greenway. In search of a more welcoming place to skate, I came across the Central Park Dance Skaters Association — a historic group that has called the Dead Road of Central Park their rink since 1978.
While roller skating has been a mainstay of Central Park for almost a century, the Central Park Dance Skaters Association initially formed in the late ’90s to resist the city’s insistence on making the park skate-free. Today, skaters and park-goers alike gather at Skate Circle on sunny weekends from April to October.