Bubble Banks R.I.P.

k reed bubble banks

Kenny Reed — Late-ninetiesish — Photo by Mike O’Meally

The Bubble Banks are the first spot casualty of 2013.

The plaza is surrounded by barricades and all of the banks are being torn out from the ground. It was without doubt, the whitest spot in New York City. You’ll be hard pressed to find footage of an Asian, African American, Hispanic or even Native American skateboarder skating here. The banks were tough to skate, the cracks got worse with each passing winter, but it had been a midtown staple for so long with a lower bust factor than any other nearby spot. They weren’t much fun to skate, but at least the spot was photogenic. It’s still sad to see it go. The skateboarders and homeless people who slept here during the summers will miss it. R.I.P.

(Thanks to Nicholas for the tip and photo.)

bubble banks done


  1. That Keenan Milton dude had a few flicks from his Childhood in Yeah Right.

    Rumors say he was black enough for switch flippin a picnic table with grandeur

  2. lawlz on the comment on white skate spot. quite a shame a spot that has featured in so much footage is destroyed. why would there be no non whites at the spot post 98?

  3. I skated them in ’98 and considering what I looked like back then, pretty sure skinny white dudes had been skating them for years.

  4. since differences between white and black skating had their premier in ’98…

    …i’m lloking forward to an essay about the concept of white/black spots and or b/w skating in general.

    who grinded the first piece of glass, and when?
    is rodrigo tx the prototype for #blackstylez (yes, he counts as black, if not through skin color, then at least via trick selection, right use of camo and pop)

    are french mariano, busenitz and gino above this classification?

  5. RIP Glad we got a few clips on them for our video and Tohmi is Japanese so you gunna see some non “white” tricks go down

  6. I think the black/white question is more of a lifestyle choice. Pabst blue ribbon very white, use the word “piff” more of a black thing. Enjoying hip hop from 2002 to the present, is more of a stupid kid thing.

  7. If the average black skater took a white approach to skating, that would be special. Pop plus originality and style. Imagine a combination of sean sheffey and dustin dollin. Ray barbee and vinnie ponte. What you get is the perfect skating machine, Luis Tolentino.

  8. First time i sksted the bubbles was 1992. There were two different korean skaters named Eugene Lee with me. Steven Song and some other hanger on was there as well. Thst was the day we bought video days from the skateshop right next to the banks. I remember all the kids at that shop were rocking blue and yellow polo jackets. If my memory is correct, I think most of the were asian, ad well. Yellow Fever is how i remember that day.

  9. Well, pre ’98 so it doesn’t count, Qulon Douglas has a pic in some mag, back tail (I think) on one of the round bench things. Bunch of Shut guys ripped that thing back then.

  10. Guilty of being white, liking some Lady Gaga songs, and skating at the Bubble banks for an hour every night I gone skating in east midtown. RIP.

  11. “If the average black skater took a white approach to skating, that would be special. Pop plus originality and style. Imagine a combination of sean sheffey and dustin dollin. Ray barbee and vinnie ponte. What you get is the perfect skating machine, Luis Tolentino.”

    So you haven’t seen Hardflip: The Movie yet have you? I have zero respect for Luis Tolentino after seeing him in that terrible christian movie.

  12. I don’t know if its your place to judge what is “white” and what is “black”. haven’t you white folks dictated that type of stuff for long enough?

    p.s.: I skated the bubble banks all the time when i first started skating, and I”m BLACK.

  13. I think you guys might be starting to take the “joke” a bit too seriously.

    For the record, I am fully aware that the spot (which has been around for 25+ years) has been skated by non-caucasian individuals.

    In the context of the term “white skate spot,” the “white” portion refers to an individual who likely attended art school and likes unnecessarily difficult-to-skate spots (strangely enough, *all* fellow caucasians do not apply this description.) Another synonym for “white skate spot” is “brown pants skate spot.” In its most recent state, where is covered in rocks, full of cracks and all sorts of annoying shit that made it way too hard to skate, Bubble Banks was certainly a “brown pants skate spot.”

  14. Keep em coming! Hilarious…I guess “brown pants spot” is less offensive, to those w out sense of humor.

  15. Although I prefer navy blue pleated slacks, brown pants are easier to skate in than unnecessarily heavy chainmail denim

  16. Its not about a lack of humor. The joke just isn’t funny. Don’t fret, they can’t all come off.

    Where’s the jean short spot at? Or the Asian spot? Or the black spot? The joke loses steam very quickly.

    Note to white people: tread lightly when discussing anything race related.

  17. damn I’m gonna miss skating the bubble banks

    RIP to the Bubble Banks
    and Malcom X

  18. Note:
    Ray Barbee aka the best excuse for no complies skates brown pants as well as Silas, wo is the impersonated brown pant.

    and that “joke” is kinda old, but solid gold anytime it is brought up.
    pwbc global skateboard news teach you why.

  19. you guys see me in that just for mens (beard die) commercial? or maybe the ford one from last year?

  20. “Brown pants skateboarding” is a lifestyle choice, not a wardrobe one. Wearing brown pants does not immediately render someone a brown pants skater e.g. Mike Carroll, Rick Howard and Ray Barbee wear brown pants, but are not brown pants skaters.

  21. Are these comments in response to a Django thinkpiece hidden somewhere in a post about the Bubble Banks?

  22. asian spot- that school gideon choi skated in every piece of footage that he put out;
    a spot that involves stacking multiple picnic tables; that ledge on canal st

    jean short spot- any spot you skate while on vacation in a tropical climate

    black spot- brower park; 110; love park; pier 7; macba

    white spot- wallows; that stupid bank to slanted hubba in the bronx; china banks; bro bowl; derby park; jerryside

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