In 'Night Dancin'' (1980), a guide to the New York disco scene, Via Miezitis described the Empire in its heyday: 'Rainbows, clouds and blue skies cover the walls. Neon criss-crosses and circles mirror balls hung from high gymnasium-like ceilings and transform them into phosphorescent planets in outer space. More rainbow-colored neon outlines a large, square railed-off skating area contained within the main rink; the neon is reflected on the ceiling and looks like a meteor or laser beams.
Over 1000 skaters cover thousands of square feet of roller rink. Human satellites, they orbit defying gravity, dancing and speeding effortlessly through space. Some resemble glider planes that float in the air; still others appear as precision performance jets as they whirl, dip, roll, fall and suddenly cut across the paths of other "planes." The Empire Roller Disco attracts the best roller disco skaters in the world, who perform their practiced and improvised disco routines regularly to disco beats spun by a regular disc jockey. The dee jay helps lead the skaters through the various peaks and dips of the speeding and furious energy high that is roller disco at its best'.
Quotes and images from 'Night Dancin'', text by Vita Miezitis, photographs by Bill Bernstein (New York: 1980). There is a petition against the closure of The Empire here.