Boogie nights: A disco-inspired roller rink opens at Rock Center today

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Midtown is swapping out its blades for wheels this weekend as the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink temporarily transforms into a roller disco. 

For the first time in 80 years, Manhattan’s iconic Lower Plaza is transforming into a rollerskating rink. (The last time the commons invited in skaters was 1940.)

Beginning today and continuing through Oct., skaters of all skill levels are invited to roll on down to The Rink at Rockefeller Plaza seven days a week, and til midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Free day lockers are available (bags are not permitted on the ice) and tickets for one-hour skate sessions cost $20 for adults who bring their own skates and $30 who need to rent. (Tickets for children under $15 with skates cost $12 or $22 for those without.) 

The seasonal skate spot, Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, will offer not just a space to glide but also has a host of live music performances and DJs lined up to perform at the open-air venue, which is styled in the vein of its beloved if short-lived namesake. 

rockefeller center ice skating rink
Skate rentals are available for $10, although customers are welcome to bring their own.

rockefeller center ice skating rink
Inside the Skate House at Flipper’s new Manhattan iteration.

rockefeller center ice skating rink
The trained seal Sharkey makes a cameo in 1940, the last year Rockefeller Center transformed its plaza into a rollerskating venue.

The original Flipper’s had a gold dome, operated from 1979 to 1981 in Los Angeles and “was Studio 54 on wheels” according to “Charlie’s Angels” actress Jaclyn Smith. 

“Our original rink was the stuff of Los Angeles legend. For three glittering years an entire generation of eccentrics, outsiders, punk rockers and disco queens came together to experience a unique kind of freedom on roller skates,” Flippers’ website says. “Cut to 2022 — The legendary roller rink is back, opening our doors at Rockefeller Center.” 

Liberty Ross, the model daughter of Flipper’s founder Ian “Flipper” Ross, leaned heavily on ‘70s nostalgia in designing her new homage to her father’s venue. 

“A year ago this place was a ghost town,” Liberty told Vogue of the landmark plaza during the pandemic. “It feels amazing to bring this joy to the city.

The Rink is located at Rockefeller Plaza between 50th and 49th streets. In Manhattan. It is open Monday-Wednesday 10 A.M. to 10 P.M., Thursday-Friday 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 8 A.M. to midnight and Sundays 8 A.M. to 10 P.M.

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