Gold Coast Roller Rink Closing August 14: Final Events and What Might Replace It

Gold Coast Roller Rink operations manager Miles Miron is the first to admit that he's as much a part of the history of the soon-to-close skating haven as anything. Since his start at the building in 1989, he has toiled under two

drastically different owners -- one who ran the place actively, and

the current boss, Joseph Latona, whom he characterizes as more of an

"absentee" owner.

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Unsurprisingly, Miron has strong feelings about the building's permanent closing after a final skate on August 14. "Anybody who grew up here skated here at one time or another," he says. "It's going

away, and there's nothing they can do to stop it. Skating isn't what it

used to be either. I was here during the heyday, when we used to have 600 to 800 people a

night. When the new owner took over, a lot of things have gone by the

wayside."

In spite of all of the turmoil, Miron is keeping a sense of humor about the situation. In an exclusive interview with County Grind, he candidly discusses the factors for the closing and the bizarre new business that could be replacing the rink.

Was the closing a financial decision?

I'm not the owner, but I think it definitely is. If you're on top of things when they happen, it's easier. It's like a car. If you have a problem and you put that problem off, you create another problem, and another problem. You start to have the domino effect. Then it's "Oh my God, look how much it's going to cost to fix it." We had a death in our family. That person was never replaced. He should've been replaced. It created more problems. There's no one here during the daytime. Logistically it became a nightmare. I could bad-mouth for 25 minutes all of the issues I have. One man ran it as his livelihood, and one ran it as a business.

Any other factors play into that? Are fewer people skating because of the internet?

It's a different economy today. You don't have as many people skating as

you did in the '80s and '90s. I don't blame the internet for that.

We've had a couple of parties that were successful because of the internet. For the gay community, it was a place to congregate before everything came out of the closet, in plain English. We used to sit here between two gay bars. We used to have the Copa and used to have the Coliseum. On a Tuesday night, it was a great place to come out and congregate. Now you have to travel because the bars aren't gay anymore. You could take your ticket stub and get a free drink at one of the bars.

When Huizenga decided to put up the Mercedes Benz dealership, that took away from the neighborhood too. That was all houses back there. Everybody was buying up land on the east side of town, and you lost people that way. There's many different factors.

What is the date of demolition?

I don't know when exactly. [Owner Joseph Latona] hasn't put that in.

What do you have planned for the final days?

If you wanna skate, I recommend you do it before it's too late. August 14 will be our last session between the hours of 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Probably you're looking at $5 admission as a last hurrah. That will include skate rental as needed. Don't expect much in the building, because they've already started removing things that don't belong here. They want to have the building pretty much cleared out by the 10th. It's a sad situation. We haven't scheduled any birthday parties, and I'm not scheduling any

parties. If you go to a restaurant and you know that it's their last

day, the menu's very thin. We're not going balls to the wall. It's at the end. It's

winding down. [On Tuesday evening, the 43-year-old gay skate night -- dubbed Intoxiskate in recent years -- will host its final running, and you can read more on that here. Expect Sweat Records' Lolo Reskin and friends in the building.]

Are there plans for the space after the building is demolished?

Eventually, rumor has it that they're putting up a... not a pet motel but something similar to that. Instead of dropping your dog off at the pet motel, you drop 'em off here, hop on a plane, and pick 'em up when you get back. A convenience situation. A holding facility? That's the rumor. We're literally going to the dogs!

What will you remember most about the rink?

A lot of the people who skated here, skated for 20-plus years. We've all grown 20 years older together. It's an extension of your family. It wasn't your typical business. If you came in and you were a couple of bucks short, can I get you the next time? It's like the corner bar. You know them.

What's the last night of business going to be like for you?

I'll probably sitting at the front door cashiering, instead of doing what I should be doing -- walking around thanking people for coming out all these years. It's a strange situation.

Are you going to put on your skates one last time?

I probably won't. I've already taken my skates out of the building. The hardest part is that we haven't been told when to gear ourselves for what's coming and when it's going to happen. The owner's being really quiet about it. We don't know what to expect next.


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