East End Beacon

Skating into the New Year

Manager Mindy Ryan at the Greenport American Legion's skating rink.
Manager Mindy Ryan at the Greenport American Legion’s skating rink on Veterans Day. The new tile skating surface has since been put down.

The roller skating rink in Greenport’s American Legion Hall, long a place where Porters cultivated great adolescent memories, will reopen New Year’s Eve with a great big bash.

While there will be no skating that night volunteers are close to the finish line and are expecting to have the rink officially open early in the new year.

“We needed a goal, a deadline,” said the rink’s manager, Mindy Ryan, at an open house for the skating rink on Veterans Day.

The Legion Hall, just a block from the ferry to Shelter Island on Third Street, flooded in Superstorm Sandy, buckling the wooden floors, which sat directly on dirt. But even before that, the last evidence that the skating rink was open were photos Ms. Ryan found of a private birthday party in 2009.

Dockbuilder George Costello had spearheaded an effort to revamp the skating rink in 2011, but he died during a flury of intense work not long after Superstorm Sandy, and the skating rink was named the George D. Costello Memorial Skating Rink in his honor in 2014.

Dedicated veterans and volunteers began the work of restoring the building in earnest after the storm, which included removing the buckled floorboards and pouring a new cement floor, which was covered in mid-December with a tile skating surface.

Ms. Ryan just officially became the General Manager of the building, and she has big plans.

In addition to the expansive skating rink, there is a stage at the far end of the room, and she envisions screening movies, staging plays and having concerts and fashion shows in the space, which she hopes will again become a community center.

A group of women from the village has already volunteered to organize and run the New Year’s Eve party, she said, and have mustered up a volunteer bartender and servers.

Tickets to the bash, which runs from 8 to midnight on New Year’s Eve, are $60 and are available online at greenportamericanlegion.org or by calling 631.333.2644. Jukebox Live will perform, and the event will be catered by CJ’s of Mattituck, with a champagne toast at midnight to the reborn skating rink. There will also be a cash bar.

In October, volunteers at the rink heard that a skating rink in Port Jefferson was closing down, and the Legion bought 315 pairs of roller skates for the re-opening of the rink — at a cost of $15,000, half-price, which they’ve augmented with new skates as well.

After the rink is open, Phase II of the construction project is to renovate the Legion’s upstairs members’ area, and to insulate the building from the outside, using foam board and stucco.

Ms. Ryan said the project has already received $1 million in donations of cash and materials, and an uncountable number of hours of volunteer labor.

“So many of these people skated here as kids, and they can’t wait until it’s back,” she said “Spread the word. Like us on Facebook. We need volunteers.”

Donations are being accepted at Burton Potter Club Inc., 121 3rd Street, Greenport, NY 11944 or on their website here. 

More details on the New Year’s Eve party will also be on the Legion’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GreenportAmericanLegion.


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