NOTE: The description below is an imagined version of what a busy day at Brooklyn Curling Center might look like. We assume most days will not be nearly this busy, but for illustrative purposes, we have chosen to operate on this particular imaginary day at full tilt. All times, events, and restaurant dishes are subject to change.
Lights on! The ice technician hangs her coat on the rack, finishes her coffee with one big final swig, and heads into the equipment room. Her tools: an electric ice scraper, a backpack pebbling rig, a nipper and one very wide mop.
Her job: something in between maintaining the greens at a golf course and calibrating the parabolic mirror of a space telescope. (It's true, quality ice will illicit the same jaw-dropping awe as a deep field image from the James Webb Space Telescope.)
Over the course of the day, she will periodically re-pebble and clean the ice to maintain optimum play conditions. Since curling ice is substantially different from skating ice, for the first time it is possible for New York City to host both casual and competitive curlers in a facility that meets global standards.
A college team runs drills, sliding one-by-one through orange cones. In 2022, several college curling teams play within a few hours’ drive in all directions from New York City. The team takes advantage of discounted rates to train during off-hours.
Two sheets over, a fledgling four-team senior league takes to the ice. The world’s oldest curler is 102, but there are no centenarians here, just people from the neighborhood who want an excuse to move around a bit and meet up with some friends.
Three of the eight curlers use delivery sticks, one of the adaptive devices used in curling. It allows for an accurate delivery from a standing position.
The User Experience Department from a media marketing company arrives for a corporate event. Two dozen people pour out of rideshares feeling a little low-energy from a morning of meetings. A third of the group works at the company’s Dumbo headquarters, a third are in from out of town, and a third work remotely and see the rest of the group once a year.
Warm beverages seem to materialize from nowhere as an instructor steps to the front of the group’s rented conference room. He is a USCA-certified instructor, but also has specialized training from Brooklyn Curling Center to host events like these.
His goal: to explain the game quickly and succinctly, before heading out on the ice for team building, er... yelling and sweeping and smashing stones together.
This isn't your average corporate event.
Through an uproar of laughter, a group of four old friends can’t believe how much fun they had curling together for the first time in years. After the gang spread far and wide after college, they thought their days playing together were over.
But, since one of them is a member of Brooklyn Curling, he is able to rent a sheet when they visit from out of town. They even have enough time to change, eat, and catch a Broadway musical.
A few friends who live in the area and work from home meet up at the curling center's bar. During the summer, there are plenty of places to grab a drink and some hearty appetizers under bright skies.
Most of the year, happy hour is consigned indoors, to dark bars. This crew discovered that a great drink and excellent food pair nicely with the bright, open feel of the club.
The league players start to file in. The season is halfway through, and one player thinks it’s time to graduate from the club’s brooms to one of her own. She came early to peer into the glass cases of the pro shop.
Curling shoes, brooms, clothes, and gift merchandise is available from the major curling equipment manufacturers. She selects a Brooklyn Curling-branded broom, a carbon-fiber composite bearing the geometric crosshatches of the Brooklyn Bridge’s cables in brilliant yellow against black.
She examines the broom and admires its lightness as it balances on her finger. "I've got the shirt and the hat," she thinks. "It's probably time to upgrade my broom, too."
It’s a mixed-team league night, and all six sheets are busy. At the old arena facility in Prospect Park, the amount of time available for curling leagues was limited to slots times a week, all of which routinely sold out.
Now there is space for a variety of leagues, including competitive and rookie levels. Some of these teams have been playing together for years.
The ice is full and so is the food and beverage area. At the bar, a couple of husbands of league curlers discuss what makes curling stones curl, enjoying a beer while their spouses finish up the game.
The quartet plan on having dinner together at the club afterwards. One asks the other whether the poutine is any good. Of course it is.
Late league heats up. These are more experienced players, and the level of competition is high. A couple of early league players stick around after broomstacking (the traditional after-curling drink) to watch the hotshots.
In a couple of weekends, there will be a bonspiel (a curling tournament) for players with five or fewer years of experience. Teams from clubs up and down the east coast are scheduled to play. One enthusiastic curler turns to the other. “First, we need to get some really cool pants.”