Though Indoor Ten has been under construction for over a year, the MTA recently revealed the new entrance to the F train on 42nd Street. It does not look like the much beloved midtown institution will remain with us.
It was 2002. Flip’s Sorry video had just come out. When there was a finite number of skate videos, every nuance became etched in your pre-adolescent brain. You spent time with videos, memorized them, and mimicked them. It wasn’t only the tricks the pros did, or the occasional impression of “Fred’s gay outfit.” Something as mundane as an indoor set of stairs became something to aspire to. Sorry had a few sets of [presumably foreign] indoor stairs.
Two years earlier, Brian Wenning and Anthony Pappalardo revolutionized the way we saw big, fancy steel trashcans — not the wire ones, but ones like they had at Love. Pushing a can against a ledge taller than it validated skating a gap that wasn’t a gap.
And so, the Beer Bar green can gap was born: a five-foot tall ledge with a four-and-a-half foot tall can after it. All you had to do is not go slow, roll off the end, take the impact, and you’d make it. Beer Bar became the new hub for thirteen-year-old skateboarders in New York City. Learned a new trick? “Try it over the can.” There was only one can that mattered.
An ad of Todd Jordan nollie backside 180ing a marble set of stairs was making the rounds in skateboard magazines around when the Flip video came out. It made indoor skating look so wrong, so rebellious, so cosmopolitan, so…Flip Sorry. The steps were familiar, but we couldn’t confirm they were in New York. Following some intel from older friends, they were revealed to be at the southwest entrance of the 42nd Street stop on the Sixth Avenue line.
“You did it over the can? You got it down Indoor Ten” became the motto. For the next year, Indoor Ten handed out a few concussions, and the cops who patrolled the station handed out a lot of summonses, maybe even a few arrests.
Every midtown night would involve a skate over to this all-but-forbidden set of stairs. This was recently post-9/11 New York, where unfamiliar loud noises in a subway station drew a lot of attention. Few were allotted more than two or three tries by the MTA gods. After a few, a cop would come running over from the opposite side of the station, crushing your inner Appleyard, and maybe throwing you against a wall, calling you “a fucking idiot” for skating in a crowded subway station. But hey man, that’s Indoor Ten. If you rolled away, it meant *so* much more. The stairs were inside.
Skateboarding’s common mode of thinking is that if you can do it down a four, you try it down a five. If you do it down a five, you try it down a six. That all vanished when Indoor Ten came to fashion. After all, it was nothing more than twice the height of the Beer Bar drop, and the gap was equivalent to the width of two cans. Go fast, hope for the best; confidence at Indoor Ten ran high. And what would skateboarding be without irrational confidence?
I had a friend who couldn’t 360 flip off a curb — actually, maybe he couldn’t 360 flip at all — roll up and whip one down Indoor Ten. He landed it, with the griptape on the ground, and his feet on the graphic, between the trucks. He’s been claiming the roll-away ever since.
Goodbye Indoor Ten, the greatest little kid spot in New York City skateboard history.