A Short History of New York’s Longest Lines

January 18th, 2018 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 10 Comments

Ricky Oyola, godfather of the east coast “filming a line via just skating random shit on the street”-practice, once expounded on his peak skateboard dream: doing a line through Philadelphia’s then-standing City Hall, into the street, up into the Municipal Services building, back down the stairs, across the street, into Love Park, through Love Park, and end at Wawa.

The closest he got on record was a line from the end of City Hall, through the intersection, and into Love Park in Eastern Exposure 2, but it did establish a lingering precedent for connecting spots. Apart from Ricky and that Joey O’Brien Sabotage 4 line where he starts at Love and ends up in the garage beneath it, spot connecting does not have a rich history in Philadelphia.

Or anywhere, really — because doing a line from one spot, through the street, and to another, is fucking hard. There are variables (people, traffic, pebbles, maybe two sets of security, acts of God), and a pressing anxiety of missing the final trick in an already-long line, which gets amplified by the fact that fifteen other things went right up until that point. As you will soon learn, spot connecting is something most people do for the sake of doing it. In the majority of cases, they stick to their safe tricks.

Like Philadelphia, New York is a dense and layered city. Many of its streets are narrow, and depending on where you are, three or four spots could be across from one another. New York never had a “Big Three,” but it does have three different types of benches on four different street corners, and over the years, skateboarders here have kept their third eyes open and far-sighted.

Incentive Zoning

March 25th, 2015 | 5:02 am | Time Capsule | 7 Comments

breezy

The Ocean Howell interview linked in Monday’s post reminded me of this bit from 2009’s Deathbowl to Downtown documentary — which apparently is $65 for a DVD copy on Amazon now and unavailable to stream anywhere?

Update: Stream it on Vimeo for two bucks.

Both the Howell interview and this bit discuss how cities will give developers a zoning pass / tax breaks on additional floors if they furnish the ground level of their property with a public plaza. The irony is that the plazas are often restricted to people who want to sit and eat lunch, i.e. a rather limited idea of what the “public” is. Nearly every piece of our European coverage has whined about how this is inconsistent with any Euro city we’ve visited, so I’ll spare you the recurring “America sucks for skateboarding” speech. There’s a lot of good early nineties Financial District and midtown footage in this segment, and by the looks of it, they were still busts then ;)

People gave Deathbowl a bit of a hard time when it came out — “the narration was heavy handed,” “the 90s were too focused on Zoo York,” etc. — but skateboarders will dig anywhere to complain. When I got the DVD in 2010, I was a month into nursing probably the closest you could sprain an ankle without needing medical attention. I finished watching it at maybe 2 A.M (on a school night!), yet still got the urge to grab a cruiser, and skate over the 59th Street Bridge to go up and down little hills on the westside til the sun started to come up. Can’t say a proper skate video has relayed that unshakeable “I really need to go skate”-feeling the same way since.

It was fun rewatching it to find this clip, you should give it a whirl.

A Guide to New York’s New Street Plazas

November 18th, 2010 | 1:35 pm | Daily News | 7 Comments

This past year, New York City has been blessed with a massive increase in plazas built for skateboarding. Places with ledges, stairs, and gaps, as opposed to a few wooden launch ramps and a crummy quarterpipe. These plazas have provided us with a place to skate, practice our tricks, and learn new ones all in the context of a modern street skating environment, and not just some box on top of some decently-paved concrete. We hope that the City of New York continues to build these plazas so our creativity may flourish.

While it may be difficult to decide which plaza to head out to, which ones are near completion, and which ones yield the most fun, Quartersnacks has constructed a guide to the four main street plazas that have popped up in New York over the past year.