There is nothing like falling on your butt to start the workday.
The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside, the $74 million, two-rink skating complex in Prospect Park that opened to ice skaters in December, will reopen tomorrow morning at 10 am as a roller rink and we got a sneak peek at the exciting concrete expanse that awaits. You read that right — the rink is made of cement rather than the conventional polished wood that has facilitated many a roller disco pirouette and, when this klutzy Brooklyn Paper reporter donned some neon rental skates to test out the track and took a tumble on her keister, she felt just how hard that smooth ground is.
At the rink, which may be the only public roller skating venue in Brooklyn, better skaters than this scribe will offer beginner classes, and the rink will host youth and adult roller hockey clinics, as well as roller derby leagues such as Brooklyn’s Gotham Girls.
We checked in with our resident roller-skating expert, reporter Danielle Furfaro, a former blocker for the Gotham Girls teams Queens of Pain and the Grand Central Terminators, for some background on how weird it is to skate on hard ’crete.
“Wood is the ideal surface, but it would be difficult to maintain outside,” the bruiser-turned-newshound explained.
A Prospect Park spokesman said that is on the money.
“Wood is actually not good for an exterior rink,” said the Prospect Park Alliance’s Eric Landau. “Even though it’s covered, driving rain can hit the surface, warping the wood and causing a hazardous condition.”
As for how it rides, Furfaro stated there is nothing like some greased hardwood for gliding along and absorbing your fall.
“Polished wood is like buttah,” she said, using the slang pronunciation of the word “butter.” “You can get hurt much more if you fall on concrete.”
She can say that again.
The facility’s outdoor space will host musical performances and shows until Memorial Day on May 26, when it will make its debut as a free children’s water play area with jets that shoot cool streams of H20. If the indoor rink becomes too crowded, there is a chance that the rink operator could convert the outdoor ice area into a second roller-skate area until the holiday, said Monty Ross, head of marketing for Upsilon Ventures.
The complex will also house Friday night dance parties in May, complete with disc jockeys and food and drink specials. The on-site Bluestone Cafe has also submitted an application to get a liquor license in hopes of serving beer and wine, according to facility reps.
Prospect Park reps hope that the LeFrak Center’s spring debut will be as successful as the winter season, when about 50,000 visitors flocked to the rinks, according to Ross.
“The LeFrak Center has already proven itself to be an unparalleled success, with thousands taking to the ice to enjoy winter skating,” Prospect Park Alliance president James Snow said. “With the start of the warm weather, we look forward to introducing roller skating and other outdoor activities.”
Roller skating at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside [South end of Prospect Park, (718) 462-0090, www.prospectpark.org/about/lakeside]. Monday–Thursday, 2–6 pm; Friday, 2–10 pm; Saturday, 10 am–10 pm; Sunday, 10 am–6:30 pm. $6 Monday–Thursday; $8 on weekends.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham