5. New York Knobs a Skatepark
With the knobbing of a plaza made up of ledges better than any ledge in a New York skatepark, we reached a new level of absurdity. Previously, tearing out a strip of ground in front of the Small Banks, installing chessboards to entice average citizens and failing miserably was the lowpoint. This spot’s demise more-or-less ended the days of skating Water Street for an entire afternoon, as there’s no longer a “great” spot on the east side of downtown. People now skate skateparks, former C-list spots like Gay Ledges, or went back to what they were doing before Seaport got built, which is skating flat at T.F. If there’s one consolation prize from this situation, it’s that all those overzealous security guards, who would angrily warn everyone of the day when the spot would be knobbed, got fired because there was nothing left for them to do.
Euros, Australians, Californians and Midwesterners come here every summer and tear up all the spots. (Some of them eventually move here, and resume tearing up spots for six-to-eighteen months before they pursue failed modeling careers / successful bartending careers.) But it’s reassuring that the best New York videos are still made by New York kids, who have been making them for the past ten or so years, back when they were actually copied onto VHS tapes, instead of just looking like they were.
Nothing happened in 2012 unless it appeared on Instagram. You didn’t skate the T.F., skate the L.E.S. Park, set up a new board, get a box of free Stance socks, attend a skate premiere, see a celebrity, eat a burrito, go to Enid’s, drink a coffee or exist at all, if it wasn’t on Instagram. This year, people’s Instagram names replaced the names their parents gave them, bringing technology one step closer to dehumanizing us altogether.
2. Autumn Closes After Ten Years
Autumn closed on the final day of 2011, but nobody felt the sting until those winter days at 4 P.M., when it was too cold to skate Tompkins and we were destitute with nowhere to go. No place of (comparative) warmth or an outdated iMac to crowd around and watch the latest video part. No place for people from all walks of life to huddle over a pile of crumpled singles and eventually lose them all on a dice game to Slicky Boy. No place that specialized in T.F. inside joke t-shirts with a slim fit that you had to size up for. No place in New York to make you aware that companies like Vox actually existed. With speculation of a spring 2012 Autumn resurrection behind us, we bid one final farewell to the greatest shop the East Village ever had and will have.
Do you know what the big mystery of the “everybody skates” movement is? Who started it. Like, there had to have been a first person to decide, “Yes, I’m going to take this skateboard / “cruiser” / l*ngb**rd / “penny cruiser” into the middle of the fucking street in New York City, even though I truly have no idea how to ride it, and skate on it.”
And the people followed: girls, weirdos, parents, general oddities, rappers we like, rappers we don’t really care about, rappers we wish we didn’t know l*ngb**rded, rappers who fell off horribly, the offspring of scientologists, superstar NBA players, NBA role players, the former Derek Zoolander, the former Hannah Montana, the list goes on.
How exactly is not knowing how to skateboard, but riding one anyway a comfortable means of transportation in the most populated city in North America? How did this mysterious pioneer convince these people (and plenty of bored millionaires / their stylists) to disregard how nerve racking that must be and how awful it looks? Needless to say, feelings of secondhand embarrassment ran high this year, especially in noted kook zones like Broadway between 23rd and 17th and University Place as a whole, where the “Skateboarding Past a Mid-Life Crisis” contingent particularly flocked to. Let’s hope New York’s bike share program (set to launch May), and general American A.D.D. helps wind down this confused segment of society in 2013.
Bonus Mini Five — 2012 Wishes Revisited:
Here is the list from last year, with the obviously unattainable or attained wishes crossed out.
5. Something at Tompkins besides flat and trashcans…but maybe not since the Labor box looks like it’s a wrap.
4. Another (or the same) tennis court spot with real ledges that’s designated for skateboarding
3. Another ledge spot that looks like a skatepark Seaport 2.0? If only.
2. Another midtown hideout Lucked out on this one. Hopefully, it sticks around.
1. Another Autumn location