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Look who made the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer today!!

skatewoman makes front page news

Philadelphia Inquirer May 22, 2015

by Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer

Some free advice from rapping, rhyming Skatewoman:

Hold the magic table to keep you stable, bend your knees to absorb the G’s.

You get the drift. So push off and go.

Scores of people will do just that starting at 11 a.m. Friday, during the Memorial Day-weekend opening of the new outdoor roller-skating rink on the Delaware River. The beach-themed rink looks to be a party on wheels, drawing the novice and expert to its smooth, confetti-patterned floor.

Keep an eye out for Skatewoman – a skating-teaching star who in real life is Jen Goldstein, a forty-something financial officer who has rounded a thousand rinks in a thousand places.

“It was something that I could do whenever I wanted, and it gave me the freedom that nothing else gave me,” said Goldstein, who lives and skates near the Art Museum.

Her students range from kids to seniors, some wanting to recapture the rolling joy of youth, some desperate to impress a girlfriend. Others learn to skate by watching her SKATE 101 DVD, which features 30 instructional videos and cartoons set to rap, funk, and dance music. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Goldstein likes to say she rhymes like Dr. Seuss and reasons like Sir Isaac Newton.

She created the comic-book-like Skatewoman character – complete with flowing purple cape and gold SW on the chest – with help from an artist friend, to give form and color to the concept of learning to skate.

Today an estimated 40 million Americans skate for fun, friendship, and health, a renaissance that intrigued officials here. They saw a successful example not far away, at Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York.

“We’re really excited about opening weekend,” said Emma Fried-Cassorla, spokeswoman for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.

Both the rink and nearby Spruce Street Harbor Park will be open every day through the end of September.

Independence Blue Cross sponsors the RiverRink Summerfest, and Univest/Valley Green Bank presents Spruce Street Harbor Park.

The rink sits on the same site as the winter ice rink, which last year drew about 100,000 people. It features high-quality flooring, a shady grass island in the center, and an overhead tent of lights to lend atmosphere at night.

Goldstein has been skating since she was 7, growing up in South Florida, where anytime of year was a good time to hit the pavement. As friends grew up and out of skating, she stayed with it.

“I’ve always kept it convenient,” she said. “I’ve always lived near a place where I can skate. I try to get skater friends, surround myself with skaters. I always keep [my skates] ready to go.

“It’s a great social activity. You don’t realize you’re working out because it’s so much fun.”

She skates 30 to 50 miles on the weekends, covering Kelly Drive and its environs. Or she’ll visit an indoor rink. She switches between quad and in-line skates, enjoying the subtle differences between them.

“I’m probably the most uncoordinated, unathletic person you’ve ever met,” she said. “But because I could skate, I thought there must be physics behind it. I started writing songs to spell that out.”

Hence, hold the magic table – position your arms slightly forward, at about shoulder width. In classes, she teaches students how to gear up, get up, stand up, turn, stop – and fall safely, since that’s going to happen.

The rhymes keep young and old students engaged, and make it easy for them to remember the instruction.

“If I can do this, anybody can do it,” Goldstein said. “I know that’s a saying, but in this case it’s true. . . . I skate every time I can get a ride to the rink.

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Jen Goldstein Keeps on Rollin’

Metro News

If you think rollerblading is about as over as flannel shirts and ripped jeans, don’t tell local Jen Goldstein. This skater keeps on rolling in the parks, in the rinks and on CD.

Ever since the SEPTA strike in 1998, Goldstein wanted to turn her hobby of in-line skating into a profession-and teach people the glory of skating along the way.

Goldstein, a Wharton graduate whose marketing thesis was entitled “The Development of a Product: In-Line Skating,” started her own in-line program.

“I began teaching young and old students and repeated the same lesson,” Goldstein explains.

The key to her program is her very own hip-hop/funk albums, which provide a skating lesson within the lyrics. Many of her songs and SK8Trax albums have been on top to lists throughout the United States, including 2004’s Top 10 Singles by New York City Village Voice. Goldstein constructs the lyrics to her songs to help beginner students skate.

“Once they follow along to my simple steps and try the positions and motions on their feet first, then they can roll in control,” she says.

COLLEEN LACEY

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Summer Shape-Up

Bellevue Magazine

Summer is just around the corner, and “The Sporting Club at The Bellevue has everything you need to get in shape and have fun! We offer state-of-the-art equipment, an indoor track and Junior Olympic pool, racquetball, squash, basketball, spa area, massage therapy, childcare center and more. And now, members can take advantage of several exciting club innovations.

Stop by our indoor driving range and take a lesson from our golf pro. Enjoy a frozen yogurt shake in our new juice bar. Book a summer vacation with our in-house Squires Travel representative. Have a manicure or facial right in the club. Or, learn the hottest new sport — rollerblading.

With so much to offer, the Sporting Club goes “Beyond Fitness”. For a real trial membership call, 985-9876, Ext. 140.

Blading lessons and clinics are now available at The Sporting Club. Don’t miss out on the action!

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Grad Rolls On After Her Final Thesis

The Daily Pennsylvanian

Jennifer Goldstein insists she really didn’t major in rollerblading.

But the 1990 Wharton graduate’s unusual senior thesis “A New Product: In-Line Skates” has spurned her to open a Philadelphia store that specializes in nation’s newest sport. A second is planned to open the next one by the end of the year.

Goldstein’s shop, Bladin’ Action, is the only of its kind in Philadelphia, and she says the sport’s popularity is heading exactly where her thesis said it would go — through the roof.

“I knew going into this that it isn’t just a fad,” Goldstein said yesterday. “Rollerblading provides a great, low-impact workout — and of course it’s a lot of fun.”

The sport’s official name is in-line skating, though most know it by its most popular brand name, Rollerblade. Goldstein said it has expanded from 20,000 skaters in 1988 to over 2 million today — growth to make any marketing major’s head spin.

“In-line skates will be a household item by 2000,” Goldstein added. Students are beginning to skate in greater numbers around campus as well.

First-year Vet student Ylva Bostrom bought her in-line skates 3 months ago “on a whim,” and has been skating ever since.

“I took them with me to Sweden this summer — Rollerblading is really big over there,” Bostrom said. “It’s fun, easy and great exercise.”

Bostrom added that she skates on campus whenever she can and often encourages fellow students to join her.

A senior thesis was far from Goldstein’s mind when she first strapped on in-line skates as a junior at the University.

“I had dreamed of being a champion ice skater when I was little — but the first time I got on the ice I just kept falling,” Goldstein said. “In-line skating just seemed to come naturally to me.

“Goldstein said that after graduating in 1990 she was unable to find a full-time job she would enjoy, so she “created one” by starting Philadelphia’s first in-line skate store.

She now teaches beginning and intermediate in-line skating, as well as a popular skate-aerobics class.

“I’ve developed my classes by watching [traditional] aerobic and dance classes, and applying the things I liked to in-line skating,” she said.

Goldstein’s shop is part of the sporting club in the luxurious Center City hotel, The Bellevue at 224 S. Broad St. The shop offers sales, rentals and lessons as well as dance classes.

At first, her customers were exclusively club members and hotel guests, she said.

But after one year of business and extensive media attention, customers flocked from all over the city and suburbs, including some local celebrities.

“Dr. J. was here recently,” Goldstein said. “I couldn’t believe his feet — I fitted him with a size 16D.” Goldstein believes in-line skating is much safer than other popular sports such as skiing and ice skating, but still recommends that skaters wear knee and elbow pads.

“My motto is that everyone should practice safe sex, and safe rollerblading, by wearing protective gear,” she said. “When you fall you can get hurt because it’s like you’re skiing without snow.”

Ultimately, Goldstein said she would like to adapt her 50 page senior thesis into a mainstream book.

“I want to walk into a supermarket and see housewives reading ‘The Truth About In-Line Skates’ in the checkout lines,” Goldstein said.

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Rollerblading Onto the Musical Scene

Philadelphia Inquirer

Mar 24 2005

by Daniel Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer

A debut song draws attention.

The dynamo behind a song on two Village Voice “Best of 2004” lists rolls into her store off Kelly Drive.

“Glide, slide, save your hide,” chants Jen Goldstein, demonstrating her approach to falling – bending her right leg, dragging her padded knee along the carpet, and reaching forward with her hands.

“I call this ‘grabbing my imaginary magic table.'”

Don’t figure this diminutive whirl spouting instructional rhymes for being a little flighty. She’s a Wharton grad who breaks most things into simple equations.

Like roller-blading.

Owner of the gear shop called Drive Sports, at 26th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Goldstein describes herself as a natural klutz who learned to roller-blade by trial and error, analyzing her missteps. “If this happens,” she says, “it’s because of that.”

The analytical mind and a love of funk made it natural for her to write an instructional skating song.

What isn’t so natural is landing your first recording on the Voice’s prestigious Pazz & Jop poll.

Goldstein, had an idea for some learn-to-skate songs and started looking for a collaborator. Through Taxi.com, a site for unsigned talent, she found Peter Panagakos, a Montreal-born multi-instrumentalist who was living in Philadelphia.

The first song they worked on became “Boogie Back Rap,” which Goldstein wrote to teach roller-bladers how to skate in reverse.

“As soon as they say it’s time to skate backwards, everybody clears the rink,” says Goldstein, a native of Gainesville, Fla. So she tells how it’s done in an infectious dance number with lyrics like:

Stand up first, point arms ‘n’ nose.

Turn heels out, weight on toes.

The duo, who record under the name “phat sk8trax,” dropped off a copy of the single at the Voice’s front door in Greenwich Village in late summer.

It found its way to music editor Chuck Eddy, who was moved. So was critic Don Allred. Both named it in their top-10-singles-of-the-year lists.

“Just the idea seemed pretty cool,” Eddy recalls. “I actually like the way she rapped. I didn’t think she was attempting to be anything. Just the energy and exuberance immediately grabbed me.”

When he got the CD, Eddy wasn’t even sure if phat sk8trax was the name of the artist or the song until he played it.

The track reminded him of “this really brief post-disco genre of roller-skating music that existed for two months in 1980, records like Vaughan Mason’s ‘Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll.’ ” At a time when artists are self-consciously trying to re-create the sound of the new-wave era, the track worked “without making too big a deal about it,” Eddy says. “Once in a while that will happen. This record from nowhere that seems to have no connection with what are supposed to be the ‘important’ trends will show up in my mailbox. Partly because of that, I found it really endearing.”

The CD single runs 30 minutes, with seven versions of the song, including old-school, new-school-acoustic, and karaoke renditions.

Next up is a full-length CD with 11 songs about roller-blading, due out next month. A video and instructional DVD may be next. The Pazz & Jop mentions prompted music-industry moguls to start e-mailing Goldstein.

But she is focused on her rental and teaching business, and the return of color and people to the Schuylkill.

“Spring is coming,” she says, talking fast and spinning slowly. “Soon.”

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Good Times Roll(erblade) with Alumna

The Daily Pennsylvanian

1990 grad teaches in-line skills, safety Before most of her peers had even heard of the new sport, Wharton alumna Jen Goldstein was already strapping on her first pair of Rollerblades, cruising down Locust Walk past curious onlookers.

These days, nearly six years later, in-line skating has become one of the most popular sports around — and quite a familiar sight on campus. So what has made this sport — which combines the techniques of ice skating, skiing and rollerskating — so popular?

Just ask Goldstein.

A 1990 Penn graduate, she wrote her senior thesis for Marketing 41 on the development of in-line skating with the help of Marketing Professor Burton Brodo, who is also associate director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division.

Since then, she has opened Philadelphia’s first in-line skate shop — Bladin’ Action at 306 S. 5th St. — and has become Philly’s first female in-line skate instructor.

“I found something that I liked,” Goldstein said. “Professor Brodo gave me a chance to do what I wanted to do. I figured if I could offer everybody what I wanted to [see] offered, there would be some happy skaters out there.”

Brodo said Goldstein’s love for the product makes her “a marvelous entrepreneur.”

“She put together this business product that few people knew of, and now she’s one of the foremost proponents of the rollerblading industry,” he said. “[And] she can look at [the sport’s] development from so many marketing angles.”

A lack of service for female customers propelled Goldstein into the in-line skating market. Few stores carry skates for women, so many customers are forced to purchase men’s skates which often fit incorrectly and can lead to injury, she explained.

“Women should have an equal chance to get the right skate and the right service,” Goldstein said. “No one had women’s skates or the information and knowledge to help me.

“I figured if I couldn’t find it, then I could help give it to others like me,” she added.

In-line skating has developed into more than just a fad in the past decade. Millions of people have taken up the sport, for everything from recreation to pure competition. Weekends in Fairmount Park bring thousands of skaters speeding by the bikers and runners along the Schuylkill River.

Goldstein’s slogan, “Take a class, save your ass,” encourages eager beginners to take a class before actually trying to skate outside. She offers daily classes to teach skating and stopping techniques, which help newcomers feel more comfortable on their skates. Beginner classes are free, but reservations are required due to the large number of people interested.

Goldstein cited three factors which keep people from trying in-line skating — cost, fear and social atmosphere. She said she tries to cut down on these factors through low-cost renting, frequent discounts and the availability of classes in three gyms in Center City. These classes offer a controlled atmosphere for people to learn and improve before actually hitting the skating scene.

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Learning to Skate Has Never Been Easier

Art Museum Area

Walk into Drive Sport and you’re bound to see Jen Goldstein skating around her shop, smiling and making conversation with new customers and the regular who hang at the Art Museum Area bike and skate shop in their spare time.

“I try to do most things on skates,” she says. “I do it all year round. If there is snow on the ground, I’ll go to the skating rink.”

Skating began as a necessity for Goldstein, eventually becoming a hobby, and then a passion.

“I started to skate because SEPTA threatened to strike when I was attending (University of Pennsylvania’s) Wharton School of Business during the late 1980s,” she recalled. “So I got skates because I knew I could skate as a kind and I thought that it would be easier than riding a bike.”

So after purchasing her first pair of skates in 1989, the Penn student taught herself how to skate on her way to class.

As time passed and Goldstein became a good skater, the business-minded side of the Wharton grad had an idea.

“I was scared not knowing what I was doing at first, but once I learned to skate, I realized that everybody in the world could learn to do it,” she said.

After graduating from Wharton in 1990, Goldstein began teaching skating techniques in a small space in a Center City gym. Five years later, she opened a skate shop and skating school on South Street.

Then, five years ago, Goldstein and her crew, including friend and store manager Steve Bell, made the move to the Art Museum area for a larger venture- the opening of a full-service bike and skate shop at 26th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

For 20years before Goldstein’s move into the Pennsylvania Avenue shop, the building was an empty, vacant gem across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Park and Kelly Drive, just waiting for the right person to come along.

Enter Goldstein.

The location was perfect for the type of store the entrepreneur wanted to open.

Kelly Drive and Fairmount Park are famous for being prime locations for biking, skating and running.

“I just thought that it was the perfect location,” Goldstein said. “We can accommodate everybody that’s out there skating, riding and rolling.”

Goldstein also believes that the shop opened at the perfect time.

“I believe that Philadelphia will continue to be progressive and have a lot of alternative transportation because it’s such a perfectly laid-out city for that,” she said.

With a staff of nine people who each specialize in some facet of “dry sports,” there is not a question or problem that the store cannot handle. Bell leads the charge of the store’s role as an advocate of biking, skating and running in Philadelphia.

“He does everything,” Goldstein said. “He does all kinds of cycling and every type of skating.”

Goldstein also operates a skate school located in the same building as her shop. It’s where she gets to take part in her favourite aspect in skating: teaching.

Goldstein offers both private and group skate lessons. Free skate rental and protective gear come with each lesson.

In fact, Goldstein has recently released the first in a series of compact discs of instructional skating raps songs. In the first, Boogie Back Rap, Goldstein teaches the listener, through her lyrics, how to skate backward.

“After teaching for so long, I realized that we make the same mistakes and there aerre secrets that once you know them, you can do anything,” she said.

Future releases will include a song on the proper way to stop on skates, and another on the laws of running, balance, direction, speed and the physics of the sport.

Skating rinks across the country have picked up on the Boogie Back Rap, New York’s Village Voice included the release on a music columnist’s dozen list of favorite singles, and the tune also has gotten some radio airplay.

“One of the great things is that anybody can get out there,” she said. “even if they are pushing a baby jogger (a carriage that enables parents to jog while out with their baby), running or just walking. My whole thing is getting people started, getting them into something that they could possibly love.”

The store carries a large selection of biking and running shoes, as well as a diverse number of skates and rollerblades that rivals any selection in the city.

Mountain bikes, recreational bikes, kids bikes and specialty bikes, such as the tricycle or the recumbent bicycle, line the walls of the store.

The store also carries a large line of clothing, both for biking, running and skating purposes, as well as casual wear.

The store offers bicycle and skate rentals and a repair shop.

Drive Sports is open 11a.m to 7p.m on Monday and Wednesday through Friday (the shop is closed Tuesdays), 10a.m to 5p.m on Saturday, and noon to 4 on Sunday.

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Clear the Rink

Citypaper

Rollerball. Xanadu. Heather Graham in Boogie Nights. Those synchronized skaters rallying around Ferris Bueller on the streets of Chicago.

Popular culture has managed to make rolling around in a circle on little wheels simultaneously hip and square. And in the early ’90s, a new fad had Philadelphians strapping on knee pads and helmets all along the Schuylkill waterfront, teetering around with arms outstretched, pitched forward in a roll toward certain death. Even your dad got into the act, God help him.

It was a free-for-all, but a lucrative one for a little company called Rollerblade. Ahead of the curve, too, was a young Wharton grad named Jen Goldstein. An early inline skate instructor, she says she taught everybody from local kids to Julius Erving, John Cusack and even Bonnie Blair to skate up straight, and went on to open two successful local gear shops, Bladin’ Action and Drive Sports. Now she’s teamed up with musician Peter Panagakos to form the instructional band Phat SK8trax, whose first release is called “The Boogie Back Rap,” in which she reveals the secrets to skating backward:

“I wrote this rap, so ya can boogie back, to roll in reverse, follow this track, stand up first, point arms ‘n’ nose/ before ya boogie back, ya betta look jack, bend both knees and start like that, get ready to roll in the boogie back pose, look, bend, direct, weight on toes/ now ya can do what ya always wanted to, groove ya boogie back, be a so cool cat ”

You can listen to clips at
www.skate 101.com, but for now, think Blondie’s “Rapture,” just as dated and a little less cool. Panagakos’ synth-funk music is a throwback to old-school rap, with Goldstein’s girlish voice rattling off the steps. But it’s fun to think of grown men and women gliding around to one of the EP’s seven versions of the song — three mixes with the instructional lyrics and three karaoke versions (the disc is available at Drive Sports and Spruce Street CDs and online at www.cdbaby.com/ phatsk8trax for $9.99).

Whether people can actually concentrate on all this long enough to learn how to skate butt-first remains to be seen, but two longtime teenybopper hangouts are starting to play the track. The newly remodeled Cherry Hill Skating Center (where Phat SK8trax is planning an EP release party later next month) and Palace Roller Skating Center in Northeast Philly have the “Boogie Back Rap” in current rotation.

The song “opens up with ‘everybody clear the rink, backwards skaters only,'” says Goldstein. “This is what every rink DJ announces for the backwards song at every public session. It’s funny, at every kids’ session, they still do the hokey pokey and chicken dance, so now they are playing the ‘Boogie Back Rap’ and the adults love it too!”

Goldstein’s personality — perky, un-self-conscious and completely earnest — seems tailor-made for her hobby-turned-career. She speaks in the lingo of her lyrics and is clearly proud of her collaboration with Panagakos, a Montreal transplant. They’re planning to shoot a video and are in the process of putting together an instructional DVD called Skate 101, which they say will teach beginners to “skate, turn, brake, stop and escape, six different ways, prevent the eight mistakes beginners make, change terrains, smooth like a snake, and maintain ya skates!”

Even though inline skating has transcended fad status and become a fairly common recreational sport, Goldstein still takes proper instruction seriously. “I definitely want to stress that everyone should take a class, since it only takes an hour to learn everything,” she says. “Also, I only recommend people who have taken a class groove their boogie back and, of course, it should only be in a controlled environment like a nearby rink.”