Clubs and Leagues: Rec, Fitness, Speed and Dance
Following is a list of and brief comments about area clubs that are interested in the recreational, fitness, speed and dance aspects of inline skating.
Group that organizes regular evening indoor (dance) skating sessions late fall to spring at the Salvation Army gym on Kosciuszko St. in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. More info is on the rinks webpage.
Brooklyn Speed Team
A group of inline speedskaters who can be found training on the Prospect Park Loop, with regular training sessions Sunday mornings, April through September. Although many are also affiliated with the Empire Skate Club, the Brooklyn group have their own team colors.
A union of quad and inline skaters who have been skating on the "Dead Road" in Central Park since the late 1970s. The CPDSA officially organized in 1994 to fight the city's newly imposed park usage limits on group sizes and sound systems absent a permit. In the decades since, with the cooperation of the Parks Department, they have set up a sound system with DJ-selected music for dance skaters on weekend afternoons, roughly 1:00 to 6:00, mid-April through October, except when the park is hosting or preparing for a special event.
Central Park Skate Patrol
Probably the oldest formally organized skate group in the city, formed in the early 1990s and for a time a part of NYRSA (see below). They are a volunteer group who provide free stopping clinics at the West 72nd St. (Strawberry Fields) entrance to Central Park on Saturday afternoons April through October, offer paid lessons at other times during the week (typically Wednesday after work and Saturday mornings), and may tour the park loop looking for skaters and other park users in trouble.
An inline skating organization formed in early 1997 to replace the defunct NYRSA (see below). Empire primarily serves recreational, fitness and speed skaters, with group skates, skate tours, speed training sessions, etc. Empire sponsors NYC's oldest group skate — the Tuesday Night Skate — but its biggest activity is a weekend-long fest (the first full weekend of August) called the Big Apple Roll, with multiple group skates over four days.
This is the speedskating and serious fitness skating part of Empire. Group training sessions on the Central Park loop occur on weekday evenings, April through September, but you may also encounter them on weekend mornings. Just look for speedskaters wearing the same blue-and-orange jersey or skinsuit design. During winter (November through March), some of the group move indoors to a roller rink for fitness and technique coaching. (Since late 2011, indoor training has been at the Branch Brook Park rink in Newark, NJ.) Some may also participate in USA Roller Sports indoor racing.
As of 2021 but excluding 2020, Empire Speed weeknight training sessiona have usually occurred on Monday and Thursday evenings, with the Monday session re-scheduled to Tuesday if weather is a problem. Also as of 2021, sessions apparently start at 6 p.m. rather than the 7 p.m. of previous years.
Announcements about Empire Speed activities, including very late updates, are most reliably found on their Facebook page.
Long Island Road and Track Skating Associatioa (LIRTSA)
Group in Nassau County out on the Island who used to organize races in the 1990, and continued for some time afterward to organize other activities such as group skates. Ceased to exist as a formal group as of 2015.
New York Road Skaters Association (NYRSA)
No longer exists. NYRSA was the NYC inline organization from 1988 to 1996, peaking in 1993-1995 when they sponsored group skates, organized races, ran a skate school, and briefly organized a rollerhockey league. Originally known as the Big Apple Road Rollers, NYRSA maxed out with a dues-paying membership in the high hundreds, perhaps more than one thousand including participants in the rollerhockey league. But growth was apparently too fast and spending definitely too much. The club was in debt by late 1995 and quietly folded up late the next year.
Wednesday Night Skate
See the group skates page.