The pop-up roller skating experience The Roller Wave has found a new home at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal Mall. Inside the new 24,000-square-foot space, Roller Wave founder and Brooklyn native Harry Martin pays homage to the golden era of roller discos in the 1970s. Skaters of all ages can take part in the old school pastime while also enjoying live DJ music, delicious food and beverage options, a live podcast space, and an arcade.

Roller Wave in Brooklyn
Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Terminal

Empire Skating Rink was the roller disco hotspot in Martin’s neighborhood of Crown Heights when he was growing up. It was at places like Empire where Black patrons created a new way to skate in the 1970s. On certain days of the week, the typical organ music that would accompany skaters was replaced with DJs and records of contemporary music. Skaters moved and dance to new beats, creating the sensation of the roller disco. At Empire, celebrities like Cher skated alongside roller disco legend Bill Butler, “The Godfather of Roller Disco.” Empire was the last indoor wood floor skating rink in the city when it closed in 2007. The spirit of the roller disco is carried on at this new Brooklyn skating location that features a 9,000-square-foot roller rink.

A group of people skating at the new Roller Wave in Brooklyn
Photo by Mike Shane

“Mid-century black Americans laid the groundwork for the evolution of roller skating,” says Martin. “We are very excited to put the spotlight back on the Brooklyn community, and Atlantic Terminal Mall is the perfect epicenter to celebrate the community in an authentic and innovative way.” Founded in 2016, The Roller Wave has since hosted numerous wildly popular events and pop-ups across New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. Celebrities including Alicia Keys, Didi Richardson, and Janelle Monae have laced up for Roller Wave events.

The Roller Wave will host family programming, skating lessons, wellness events, and more through June 4, 2023. The space is open Wednesday and Thursday from 12:00pm to 10:00pm and Friday through Sunday from 11:00am to 2:00am. All ages are welcome until 8:00pm and adults only following. You can purchase tickets and see upcoming events on The Roller Wave website, here! See more photos of the space in the gallery below:

  • Roller Wave in Brooklyn
  • Roller Wave in Brooklyn

Next, check out 10 Hidden Gems of Crown Heights