As most spend the first day of summer / “Go Skateboarding Day” at various skateboard industry P.R. initiatives, Quartersnacks would like to reflect on many of the spots that are no longer with us. We would hypothetically love to go skateboarding today, but the ways of the world continue to make the act of riding a skateboard outside of a designated space more difficult each and every year. (All due respect to all those who continue to advocate for skateparks, but skateparks are not a replacement for street spots. Leave that sort of logic to sixty-year-old city council members, not people who actually skate.) Predictably, many of these places have fallen out of the public’s concern since people have ceased skating there (maybe 2 out of 11 had or have a greater general public v.s. skateboarding public occupancy ratio.) It’s amazing just how much people love to complain when you give them something to complain about, and how little they actually care once the end-point for their desired result happens.
Thanks for the memories.
Newport — The East River walkway, at the foot of Dover Street. Pretty much the only spot that mattered besides the Banks (three-minute skate away) from 1999 to 2001. All of the angle iron fell off by the end of the summer 2001, and the city soon replaced all the wooden blocks with generic park benches. Maybe five people sit on them in any given 24-hour period. There are at least fifty skateboards resting in the water, waiting for archeologists to discover them 1,000 years from now.
Dag Park — 47th Street & Second Avenue. The best ledges in Midtown in the early-2000s, and you rarely ever got kicked out. Knobbed in 2001. Jamie Thomas tailslid and 5-0ed (?) the hubba, and Bald Head Ed from the Upper West Side supposedly crooked grinded it. Who knows what would’ve went down if it were still in action.
Seaport / Bench-Down-Curb — Ferry Terminal at the South Street Seaport. The “spot of the summer” in 2002. You rarely got kicked out, and it was in the shade. They knobbed all the good benches in the fall of 2002, and left some of the bad ones, which are still there today. No one sits on them.
Hoboken Ledges / Lackawanna Park — Newark Street & Frank Sinatra Drive. One of New Jersey’s most loved spots, up there with the Peach Ledges in Newark. You never got kicked out, and the only people that spent time here were homeless junkies, and skateboarders. The building put a fence on top of the main ledge in summer 2004, and later put the fountain under construction that never amounted to anything. At least Hoboken has a plastic skatepark.
The Small Banks — Where else? The most famous skate spot in New York City skate history. The city decided it was better to block off the bank with a patch of shit and park benches, and allow it to fall into complete disrepair. It has since become a toilet and needle depository. Nice move.
Madison Avenue Ledge — 41st Street & Madison Avenue at the Pricewaterhouse Building. Opened in 2003, knobbed in 2005. You actually used to have a chance to skate a ledge in Midtown without getting kicked out in three minutes.
The Vallely Banks — 43rd Street, between Ninth & Tenth Avenue. First seen in, and named after Mike Vallely’s Rubbish Heap part. It was a total bust when it was around, as it was a part of a senior center, but you could stumble on twenty-minute sessions if you were lucky. Destroyed in 2001, and rebuilt into a place with nothing to skate.
Red Benches — Water Street & Hanover Street, right next to the Pyramid Ledges. “Spot of the summer” in 2003. Probably the best ledge spot that Downtown Manhattan ever had. They replaced the benches in the winter of 2003 with generic, wooden park benches. People sit there for lunch during the summer, but not much else.
Time-Life — 50th Street & Sixth Avenue. The original, white stone version of the spot, not the useless, marble mega-bust that exists today. Closed off for construction in 2001, and opened up with a 24-hour security guard, whose purpose rarely exceeds giving directions, and taking his job too seriously whenever a skateboarder happens to roll past, not necessarily intent on even skating the spot. “HEY! OFF THE SKATEBOARD! OFF THE SKATEBOARD! IT’S PRIVATE PROPERTY! WE BUILT THIS SO IT STAYS EMPTY! OFF THE SKATEBOARD! LET’S GO!” Top three worst security guards in the city, no question.
Saint Vartan Park — 37th Street & First Avenue. “Spot of the winter” in 2002. Knobbed in 2003, which is somewhat understandable, as it is a children’s park that you could only skate at night or in the winter. Some of the best painted-concrete ledges you could ever find.
Brooklyn Academy of Music / BAM — Flatbush & Lafayette Avenue. The best Brooklyn skate spot, probably ever. Best ground, best ledges. The manual pad was taken out, and the two main ledges knobbed in 2000. The whole spot got bulldozed around 2004. Supposedly, the marble still exists in storage somewhere, but that will probably continue to be ignored as all efforts are concentrated on building quarterpipes and wedge ramps.