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“Rollerama” roller rink opens in Kendall Square

A summertime installation by MIT’s real estate group features free roller-skating and fun activities for the broader community.
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Person rollerskating on an outdoor rink
Caption:
The first skaters hit the rink on Friday at the new Rollerama located in Kendall Common.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read
People sit around a picnic table in front of an outdoor roller rink.
Caption:
Cambridge residents and colleagues gathered at the picnic tables to watch the skaters roll by.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read
A young child plays with bubbles, with outdoor roller rink in the background.
Caption:
For those not ready to lace up their skates, Rollerama features activities for all ages.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read
An out-of-focus roller skater skates at an outdoor rink.
Caption:
Rollerama hosts specialty themed skating nights and live entertainment, as well as food and beverage from local restaurants for purchase.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read
Outdoor roller rink with Volpe Center building in the background
Caption:
“Rollerama at Kendall Common” opens at the former U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe Center site and offers free roller-skating and roller skate rentals, community programming, and family-friendly events from late June through September.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read
Outdoor roller rink with multicolored swirls painted on the floor
Caption:
A highlight of the space is a new 7,000 square foot mural by Boston-based artist Massiel Grullón featuring retro-inspired shapes.
Credits:
Photo: Logan Read

The former U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe Center site — now named “Kendall Common” in anticipation of its transformation into a vibrant mixed-use development — is now activated and open to all this summer. “Rollerama at Kendall Common” offers free roller-skating and roller skate rentals, community programming, and family-friendly events through September.

“We are extremely excited to bring Kendall Common to life in a way that is inviting and authentically Cambridge, while channeling MIT’s spirit of innovation throughout the project,” says Patrick Rowe, senior vice president, MIT Investment Management Co. “This parcel of land — right in the heart of Kendall Square — has been closed off to local residents and visitors for far too long, and we look forward to opening it up and making it accessible for all to utilize and enjoy.”

Located at the corner of Broadway and Third Street, Rollerama offers specialty themed skating nights and live entertainment, as well as food and beverage from local restaurants for purchase. Optional skate rental donations will be directed to local nonprofits. A highlight of the space is a new 7,000 square foot mural by Boston-based artist Massiel Grullón featuring retro-inspired shapes.

The first of two opening weekends took place June 28-30; the next one will be July 5-7 from 2-8 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. From July 10 through Sept. 29, Rollerama will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2-8 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We’re delighted to see this underutilized space activated with vibrant and playful programming,” says Jess Smith, director of MIT Open Space Programming. “Rollerama will add to the energy of Kendall Square and provide yet another compelling reason for employees, residents, students, and visitors to mix and mingle here. With food and drink available from Cambridge partners and voluntary donations going to Cambridge nonprofits, these activities in Kendall Common will contribute significantly to the sense of community in Kendall.”

The activation of Kendall Common will complement other new additions MIT has recently brought to the Kendall Square neighborhood, including Ripple Café, Row 34, Life Alive Café, Locke Bar, and Flat Top Johnny’s, along with the MIT Museum and MIT Press Book Store.

MIT assumed ownership of 10 acres of the former U.S. DOT Volpe Center site in Kendall Square earlier this year, and will commence infrastructure and site preparation for the redevelopment this fall. Over the coming years, MIT aims to transform Kendall Common into a vibrant, mixed-use development that will strengthen connections in the Cambridge community through new open green spaces, housing, retail offerings, restaurants, a community center, and science and innovation facilities.

Kendall Common will eventually include four residential buildings, four commercial buildings, four parks and a community center. Designed to be an inclusive and equitable urban environment with a focus on sustainability, the development is intended to nurture and inspire the local community.

For more information visit the Kendall Common website, Instagram page, and Facebook page.

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