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New York's famous skating rink at Rockefeller Center has gone retro

A MARTÍNEZ: New York's famous skating rink at Rockefeller Center has gone retro. Skaters are ditching their blades and putting on wheels.



I hope they're playing music like that if they do it. The last time the Rockefeller Center rink welcomed roller skaters was in the 1940s. Now they're back.

LIBERTY ROSS: The beauty of roller skating is that the minute you strap on the wheels, everything goes out of the window.

MARTÍNEZ: Liberty Ross came up with the idea to transform the Rockefeller Center rink for roller skating.


MARTÍNEZ: In the late 1970s, her father owned one of the hottest spots in Los Angeles, the famous Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace.

ROSS: People that went to the original Flipper's, they all say, like, yeah, you know, I was, like, holding hands with Cher while I was skating around the rink. You know, it was like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Fonda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Herbie Hancock. Everybody was there.

INSKEEP: She wanted to recreate that magic of that attraction that closed in 1981. And for its debut in New York, the stars came out to roll.

ROSS: There's Usher. There's Floyd Mayweather. There's, you know, Meek Mill. There's Mary J. Blige. But they're skating with everyone.

INSKEEP: Ross promotes roller skating as an alternative to getting lost online - less scroll, more roll.

ROSS: Put the phones down, you know, and just be in your body. Feel the wind in your hair, hear that music and just let go and enjoy the feeling of freedom.

MARTÍNEZ: Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace at Rockefeller Center is open through October.

INSKEEP: Bellbottoms not required.


BEE GEES: (Singing) Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive, ah, ah, ah... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.