An old fashioned way of fun, Rotterdam, NY has one of the few competitive skating rinks left in America. Founded in 1957 by Frank Newberry & Jim Denegris, and currently owned by Frank’s son Scott, Rollarama has been a staple and icon of many Rotterdam childhoods. Entertaining birthdays, dates, weekends, and evenings off from school. Prior to 2011, Rollarama was in somewhat of a decline until they were granted a grant to give their building a face lift and a “detox”. Since then Rollarama has changed their exterior, which once looked like a worn down warehouse, to an exciting blend of colors. Inside, renovations included a gift shop, arcade, food vendor/cafe upgrade. The fresh face lift has brought more people to enjoy skating once again.
Among the changes, Scott has brought events, games, and lessons to Rollarama for those visiting to enjoy. We decided to visit on Adult night which is a 21 & up only night, one of the weekly events hosted. The house was packed too, showing how all that work was paying off even in covid season! This had honestly thrown me off guard, having believed roller skating to be a dying fad, but now everyone in eyes sight was having an amazing time! A few old timers made there way around the floor, but most notably was the line of younger skaters dancing their way around the hard wood floor with precision and grace!
Rollarama has also been fortunate to have staff that can boast their skills on skates. Bill Williams, a national skate champ and part- time disk jockey, runs the DJ booth, keeping the crowd entertained and having fun with lively music and modern mixes. Along with him there are other renowned skaters who teach lessons to local folks who want learn to roll around like ballerina on wheels, and to be honest after trying a few classes I’ll tell you they make it look easier than it is.
My only point of contention while visiting was the passive attitude of the owner, who when spoken to looked at me and walked away. If an owner cant be bothered with a positive interaction, it leaves me to wonder how he would handle less positive altercations. Scott also has a tendency to show the same disrespect to people attempting to assist him via Rollaramas Facebook “posts” which appear to be more like irrational complaints, as seen with his response to Gagliardi, a local celebrity of Rotterdam.
If you’re interested in visiting, check out their website, they are located in Rotterdam, NY right outside Schenectady on Hamburg Street. If your more interested in following us make sure to subscribe to our email news letter so you don’t miss a singe new article that comes out!