Group looks to build city’s first curling center


They want to get “stoned.”

A Brooklyn-based group is hoping Gothamites are swept up in Winter Olympics fever — and open their wallets to fund its $10 million blueprint for the city’s first-ever dedicated curling facility.

The Brooklyn Curling Center is the brainchild of members of the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club, a seven-year-old non-profit that plays at Prospect Park’s outdoor LeFrak Center. The club regularly hits capacity and has around 120 members and roughly 1,200 people have curled with the club since its inception.

The club hosts leagues and offers classes for the sport — one that has been the butt of Americans’ jokes for years and considered a “novelty” — that involves sliding granite rocks, or “stones,” across ice with the help of a sweeper wielding a broom across the ice to reduce friction. Players push the stones and teammates sweep the ice around the stones in order for it to hit a target called the “house.”

The group is scouring Gowanus for a prime spot to construct its dream facility with six sheets of curling ice, a bar and restaurant, and event space.

They aim to eventually start a crowdfunding campaign in early 2022 — just ahead of the Games, which begin Feb. 4 in Beijing — according to the center’s CEO and co-founder Than Tibbetts, who said he has already raised more than $100,000.

Renderings of the proposed Brooklyn Curling Center. The group plans to start a crowdfunding campaign in early 2022.
Renderings of the proposed Brooklyn Curling Center. The group plans to start a crowdfunding campaign in early 2022.
Courtesy of Brooklyn Curling Cen

“People are gravitationally sucked into this sport. Whenever people see an ice sheet, I hear, ‘I always wanted to try curling,’” Tibbetts said. “We want to make this sport on a much bigger scale here.”

Early renderings show a cozy mezzanine-level bar with cushioned seats overlooking curling ice in an effort to make the most of the facility’s space. The facility’s exterior features massive windows for onlookers to catch a glimpse of games from the sidewalk.

The renderings also reveal a penguin logo from creative firm Doubleday & Cartwright, the creator of the emblem for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.

Tibbetts hopes the bar, along with an event space, will attract newcomers to curling. Corporate events held at the center, he said, will allow people to try a sport “that you can learn in 15 minutes” and better yet, where you can “yell at your boss” during games.

One challenge is landing the ideal investor. The center’s crowdfunding campaign could be the first of its kind for a curling facility, according to Tibbetts. He foresees hundreds of club members from over the years will “buy in” to the facility.

The proposed exterior for the Brooklyn Curling Center.v
The proposed exterior for the Brooklyn Curling Center.
Courtesy of Brooklyn Curling Cen

Tibbetts believes the high cost to maintain the facility’s six ice sheets can be kept manageable with a properly-insulated cold room and “highly-efficient” ice-making equipment.

Another constraint is finding an existing building that has adequate dimensions and space between columns to fit six 15-foot-wide ice sheets.

“It’s the needle in the haystack for us,” Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts, a former member of the century-old St. Paul Curling Club in Minnesota, said the sport has an advantage over other activities because it’s “adaptable” for anyone from “8 to 88.”

And interest in the sport is on the rise. Close to a dozen dedicated curling facilities have “popped up” in the country — including San Francisco, Nashville and Kansas City — over the last two years, he noted.

“Curling is having a real moment,” he declared.



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