Wheeling and dealing has taken on a different meaning for Roller Wave, a Black-owned pop-up skating rink that recently opened in downtown Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal Mall.
Harry Martin and Jennifer Scott are the duo behind the fledgling enterprise, whichthey are hoping will roll-on through the summer in its space located by Barclays Center.
The 24,000-square-foot venue, previously occupied by an Office Max store, has been transformed into New York City’s newest hot spot.
They are optimistic an extension will be granted by Madison International Realty, the real estate investment firm that owns the property. “They’ve been a good partner for us. We’re looking forward to being here as long as the demand continues,” Scott told the Daily News.
The 37-year-old East New York native is a media executive by day and a community-focused entrepreneur by night. She takes pride in Roller Wave having a semi-permanent home in what she calls “Brooklyn’s hub.” Offering more than “just skating,” the venue also boasts arcade games, a food hall powered by Mexican restaurant Chela, an art exhibition by the 60 Collective, a bar open on Fridays and Saturdays, and live DJs spinning daily.
An offshoot of Martin’s underground roller skating promotion business, the new location has had crowds lining the block on Atlantic Avenue.
“I’m from the area so it’s great to see all of the people from different walks of life and backgrounds come out and have a good time,” Martin, 35, said about the success of the newly launched endeavor. “I always dreamed of something like this happening right here where I grew up.”
A former tour manager for punk rock band Ninjasonik, the Crown Heights native went through long bouts of depression after the group disbanded. “While I was going through my depression, I took up jobs as a personal trainer, a yoga instructor and an avid marathon runner. I was working out every day but none of that wasn’t helping, it was kind of just like a pacifier.”
After attending a roller skating party in 2015, Martin found what had been missing. Lacing up his skates for the first time since his childhood at Brooklyn’s famous Empire Roller Rink brought back feelings of nostalgia and euphoria.
“There’s something spiritual about it,” he shared. “You feel like you’re floating when you’re on those wheels.”
During the fall of 2016, Martin partnered with Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Brooklyn Skates to promote parties geared towards youngsters and millennials.
He later went out on his own with the purchase of 200 skates and started hosting private parties and events throughout the city, such as House of Yes, SoHo House and Tao Restaurant for Alicia Keys’ 2017 birthday party.
His expertise has been tapped for the 2023 launches of Liberty Ross and Jimmy Iovine’s Flippers Roller Boogie Palace in Rockefeller Center, and the Nile Rodgers-powered DiscOasis in Central Park.
Martin and Scott joined forces through a mutual friend from his NinjaSonik days.
Together they are aiming to expand the brand beyond its current space through various initiatives, including NYPD-sponsored youth events, monthly art exhibitions and a newly launched free admission program for A students.
Through her Buds 2 Roses Café shingle, Scott takes pride in leading the food and beverage program at Roller Wave, along with additional prepared food items from Union Square Events, Angela Yee’s Drink Fresh Juice, Doc’s Cake Shop, Chela and other businesses owned by people of color.
“We’re just always trying to think about ways we can use our collective talents and genius to create something truly impactful for the community,” she said. “That’s the goal.”
This story has been updated.