Unlike the other three major street spots cemented in the history of skateboarding, the Banks were the sort of place that literally served no purpose to the public whatsoever, unless you were homeless or rode a skateboard. It had steps that went nowhere, bubbles coming out of the floor that made no sense, and probably the most unaccommodating benches in all of Lower Manhattan. Due to that, it is probably the most interesting spot to ever be canonized in skateboarding’s shortlist of classic spots. It was just an all around, unintentional skatepark. Unintentional skateparks > Simulations. If the ground happened to suck at Love or Pulaski, they would have never made an impact, and yet, still served their intended public function as a place to have lunch, gaze at landmarks, and accidentally run into people having sex or shooting up in the middle of the night. The Banks’ public function? Well, that’s just one big question mark.
That very same reason is crucial as to just why the 2004 renovation was so infuriating. It was the most futile, wasteful, and to put it bluntly, stupid, renovation I have ever seen the city take on (I know I’m repeating myself.) With the basketball courts being the sole exception (they take up a whopping five percent of the spot), the spot is just so unfit to be of legitimate public function that renovating it with chessboards and new benches was like trying to prove a car with a blown-out engine still works by pushing it down a hill.
Take any bridge in New York City: Queensboro, Triboro, Williamsburg, Manhattan, etc. What’s under them? Highways, major streets, and parking lots (sure, there are parks underneath on promenades, but that’s when any respective bridge is damn near 100 feet above it.) What other park is exactly parallel to a bridge off-ramp besides this one? And this place was a parking lot. It just happened to be great for skateboarding.
Perhaps that’s why it is one of the best looking spots to have ever existed — because it didn’t make sense. Looking at it in magazines, videos, and in video games as a kid, before having went there, you just can’t figure out why the hell it’s there if it’s not an intended skatepark.
Hell, how many other spots have gotten away with decades of repeated backside ollie and wallride photos?
The gallery is courtesy of The Chrome Ball Incident, which is more or less one of the few skate websites you should be checking on a daily basis.
Thumbnails after the jump.