BEST ROLLER RINK - 2002
Roller Garden Skating Center
A Saturday afternoon at this 73-year-old converted horse arena proves that skating is still popular with kids and families. A closer look reveals that most of the tykes now prefer in-line skates to the old-school, square-soled four-wheelers. Still, there's been a revival for fans of the clunky skates over the past couple of years, according to manager Kim Swenson, as the older "kids" wax nostalgic for days gone by. So much so, in fact, that there are three adults-only sessions on Roller Garden's mammoth 16,000-square-foot rink, on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday and Thursday nights. Tuesdays are big with the 18-and-over crowd, since some of the music played is designed to appeal to those raised on techno and hip hop. Thursdays are 25-and-over, and the music is retro and contemporary R&B. "We've had one of the DJs for 25 years," says the 32-year-old Swenson, who is owner Billy Sahly's daughter and has been on the payroll since she was 13. Admission and skate fees will cost you a five-spot, and there's no shortage of cheesy hot dogs and sweet fountain drinks at the snack bar. And for the uncoordinated, there's a wall's worth of vintage video games.