Staten Island’s Roller Rink Celebrated Its Last Dance

Before 9 p.m. on Saturday, crowds of people lined up in a parking lot opposite a Sonic Drive-In, making their way into a large white building in the suburban neighborhood of Tottenville, Staten Island. It was a chilly May evening, but emotions ran warm inside as a roller rink, Roller Jam USA, hosted its final night of skating.

Patrons swapped shoes for skates as some found seats at the corners of the full benches while others leaned against lockers, carefully lacing up. Some skaters took small steps to the rink, shuffling their arms for balance, while others occupied the bar.

“When I knew that it was the last night, I was like, I have to come,” said Keishonda Cruws of New Jersey, who grew up coming to the rink.

She remembered: “Somebody pulled me down here a few years ago, and I sprained my tailbone. I’ve fallen a lot, but that’s a part of it. Everybody falls.”

Over its 17 years of operation, Roller Jam USA has had its own share of pitfalls, but it has also shown resilience. In 2012, the rink was renovated after Hurricane Sandy, and the pandemic forced a temporary shutdown in 2020. After the rink reopened in 2021, it was at a smaller capacity.

Roller Jam USA opened in July 2007 by Joe Costa and his brother Tommy, who wanted to start a business that could bring families and people of all ages together.

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