Note: The Monterey Club has announced plans to close at the end of 2011.
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If you were at The Monterey Club on Monday for the Nekromantix show or any of the other concerts this week, you surely noticed that the club has yet to open its expanded concert space. Negotiations and permits are taking longer than expected, but the owners hope to have it open in time for the Revenge of the Tiki 3 event scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8.
Presented with the adjacent Kreepy Tiki Tattoos, the 14-hour bash (2 p.m. until 4 a.m.) is scheduled to include 30 bands (including country hellraiser Wayne Hancock from Austin), a custom car and bike show, vendors, a burlesque show and more. The bigger concert venue will be a welcome addition to the South Florida scene.
Those at the Nekromantix concert, or who may have recently visited The Monterey or Kreepy Tiki, may also have noticed another change in the area (just north of Fort Lauderdale International Airport on the east side of U.S. 1). A landmark building is being demolished.
Next door to The Monterey Club, Gold Coast Roller Rink, one of the few remaining vintage rinks in Florida, is in the process of being torn down after closing in mid-August. The property was purchased and will soon be home to a pet-boarding facility for travelers using the airport. Good news for jet-setting pet owners (or Monterey clubgoers looking for some extra parking), but bad news for skaters as well as fans of iconic buildings.
The rink ran for 64 years and at the time of its demise was the oldest in Florida and one of the longest in continuous operation in the United States. The owner decided to sell because of a decline in customers and mounting maintenance costs. A quote in an article in New Times summed it up perfectly: “Another piece of South Florida history is getting bulldozed.”
In an interview with New Times, operations manager Miles Miron lamented: “During the heyday, 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.”
It’s sad when such an historic structure bites the dust. You have to wonder: Could more have been done to preserve it? But these are hard economic times. In its latter years, the rink was not the most happening place but it was still home to the Gold Coast Derby Grrls, who now are in search of a new home base. The Derby Grrls were in the midst of the regional playoffs when they got the boot. They’re reportedly eyeing Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium and a site in West Palm Beach. [See recent story in New Times.]
For leisure skaters, the closest rinks are Super Wheels in Kendall, and Galaxy Skateways in Davie and North Lauderdale. But none of those can hold a candle to the historic Gold Coast.
Opened in 1947, the rink was a fixture for generations of South Floridians. For 43 years, it hosted a groundbreaking gay skate night, which was still running until the very end. Lauren “Lolo” Reskin, owner of Sweat Records in Miami, promoted many events at Gold Coast, including her popular Roll Out parties in 2006 and 2007.
According to an article in FloridaAgenda.com, boys had to wear jackets and girls had to wear dresses in order to skate in the 1940s. Admission cost a quarter, skate rentals were a dime and a hot dog set you back a nickel. Everybody was welcome. African-Americans mingled with whites during the 1960s, which was rare in the South.
Now, the Gold Coast is just a pile of rubble. And memories. If you’d like to share your stories about the Gold Coast, you can join nearly 1,000 other fans of the Gold Coast Roller Rink Alumni Facebook page.