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Beloved World on Wheels roller rink will reopen its doors this summer

With a clubby vibe, wall murals, and private lounges

People wearing roller skates
A photo taken inside World on Wheels, before it shuttered in 2013.
Christine Renee | creative commons

Four years after closing, beloved Los Angeles roller rink World on Wheels is set to reopen its doors this summer.

As LA Weekly reports, the Mid-City rink is being revived by nightclub manager Tommy Karas, who is collaborating with rapper Nipsey Hussle on the project. So far, Karas has reportedly refurbished the space, putting in new flooring and commissioned wall murals by artist Tonia Calderon. (He also appears to have installed a new illuminated sign out front).

Karas tells LA Weekly that World on Wheels was in “horrific” shape when he bought it, but he’s redone the place since then with a clubby concept that includes private lounges and virtual reality games. The rink has no firm opening date yet, but Karas says it will likely be a little over a month away.

The rink closed in 2013, after its owner, AMF Bowling Centers, filed for bankruptcy. Its closure drew an emotional response from diehard skaters, community members, and those nostalgic for the venue’s colorful heyday.

Sign Going Up! #worldonwheels #wow #la #comingsoon #2017

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A Facebook group called Save World on Wheels sprang up in 2013 and has become a repository for memories, photos, and videos from the rink’s multi-decade history.

Since opening in 1981, the rink has served as an important hip hop incubator, with the fledgling KDAY radio station frequently broadcasting from the building. In the late 1980s, as the New York Times Magazine notes (and Snoop Dogg fondly remembers), the rink became something of a battleground for the rival Crip sets that surrounded the property.

Later, it was apparently safe enough that parents allowed kids to participate in the overnight “seven-on-seven” skate nights, as Nipsey Hussle tells LA Weekly.

Working on that wood✨ @worldonwheelsla #wow #la #comingsoon #staytuned #thefishspot #prx #kickskartel

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On Wheels.....Games Coming In.... #comingsoon #wow #la #thefishspot

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Since World on Wheels closed, the city of Los Angeles has been left with just a single skating rink: Northridge Skateland (though Glendale’s Moonlight Rollerway is also still going strong).