Night at the Roxy

NYC’s New High Line Skating Rink

OK I’ll date myself with this one, and diverge from the usual PR fare found on these pages. (Hey. It’s a summer Friday. Cut me some slack.)

My nostalgic inspiration comes from a piece in today’s New York Post that reported on the opening yesterday of a new retro roller rink that resides below the city’s fab and irresistibly alluring High Line.

It was the early eighties  and my girlfriend at the time, a senior at Princeton who later became a physician — still unmarried I might add — heard that this entertainment publicist landed a couple of VIP tickets to the grand re-opening of the Roxy Roller Rink.  I really had no desire to use them, but my more exuberant star-struck raven-haired girlfriend (relentlessly) insisted.

Site of the former Roxy Roller Rink

We arrived at the club on the far west end of West 18th Street in the then rough & tumble Chelsea neighborhood. Using my best Studio 54 attitude, I grabbed my girlfriend’s hand and we made our way through the throngs of aspirants to the harried man with the clipboard.  He found my name and we were duly anointed as cool.

Right way the dark and cavernous club enveloped us with a throbbing disco beat and hordes of Ziggy Stardust wannabes. Above the din and glitter, my girlfriend dragged me to the skate dispensary. Huh? No way! I don’t think I’ve worn a pair of roller skates since donning those plastic ones when I was 4 or 5 years old. She glared at me. I relented.

John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulitas circa 1982

Tip-toeing on the carpet toward the roller derby-like oval rink with bowling alley-slickened wooden floors, I felt a sense of dread of what was to come. No fewer than three TV news crews lined the perimeter. I slowly dipped my unsteady foot into the spotlight and thrust myself forward. Hey. I am so cool! Once around. This is easy! My girlfriend yelled out, “Peter, there’s Vitas Gerulitas over there being interviewed!” On the rink?  

Uh oh. I think I’m going too fast. Vitas is getting closer…too close. BOOM! The tennis pro hit the floor, followed by me, and the sound guy. Yikes. I made a feeble attempt at an apology, and quickly crawled out of the limelight. I prayed that this portion of the opening night coverage would not make it into Roxy’s PR firm’s clip book. 

Will I take a spin at the new High Line rink?  Doubtful. But I  definitely expect to admire it from high above.