You’ve seen them before. Or you’ve at least heard about them. When it’s too warm to go ice skating in Central Park, The Central Park Dance Skaters Association can be seen (and joined!) on weekends between April and October at the Skate Circle in Central Park. The Skate Circle (also known as Dead Road) is located just north of Sheep Meadow and West of the Bandshell.
A select group of DJ’s spin live house music to keep the energy levels up at all times!
The Early Years of Disco Skating in Central Park
People started roller skating on the Dead Road in about 1978. A roller skate business called “Good Skates” had set up shop nearby, leading to the quickly growing popularity of roller skating in Central Park. The entire area would soon be filled to the brim with four wheelers.
The good times would roll through the 70s and 80s.
Things began to change in 1994. The north end of the Dead Road was repaved as part of the Bethesda Fountain and Bandshell restorations. And soon, skaters would learn about a new map that showed Volleyball courts covering the whole area.
A few skaters created a petition which would soon collect six hundred signatures. An agreement allowing them to continue skating was reached between the skaters and the Parks Department, which would last for the duration of the Dinkins Administration.
But in April of 1995, the newly elected Guiliani reneged on the agreement and began to crack down. He would work to reduce the number of people who could legally assemble without a permit, and create new regulations on public usage of sound devices.
Fighting Back – The Formation of the Central Park Dance Skaters
Faced with the prospect of being thrown out of the park, a group of skaters lead by Lezly Ziering formed the Central Park Dance Skaters Association (CPDSA) in 1995. They organized the skaters, consulted with lawyers and informed the media about the abridgment of rights they were facing.
The Administration realized that the skaters weren’t going anywhere. Their attempt to get rid of the skaters only grew their resolve, forcing skaters to organize and get all the required permits they would need.
Over the following months, the Central Park Dance Skaters Association would wage a campaign to win back these rights to continue skating in Central Park.
Since then, the CPDSA has continued to do whatever is necessary to keep The Skate Circle rolling on warm weekend days.
Become a Member
You can become a member for as little as $26. Your membership will help prolong the tradition of skating to live music in Central Park. Contributions will go towards permits, sound equipment, and other essential operating costs.
Learn more about the Central Park Dance Skaters Assocation here.Join the Upper West Side newsletter: