A roller rink once packed in young people in Brooklyn Heights?
Here’s the proof: this late 19th century trading card, which puts the Brooklyn Heights Roller Skating Rink at Fulton and Orange Streets, a corner of old Brooklyn that no longer exists.
The card is part of the fascinating collection of Victorian-era trading cards digitized by the Brooklyn Public Library.
Ads for the rink appear in the archives of the Brooklyn Eagle. But there’s not a whole lot on the rink itself—though plenty of articles chronicle the roller skating trend of the 1880s city.
“‘The roller skating craze has passed away, as regards popular favor,’ said a former proprietor of a Brooklyn roller rink to an Eagle reporter.”
“‘Roller skating is like love—once dead, it can never be revived. The first established rinks realized immense profits. At this time last year, no less than 20 rinks were open in this city.
“Many did a good business, but others lost money. The best year for roller skating was the Winter and Spring of 1883 and 1884.'”