Photo by Colin Sussingham
It was the early 2000s and New York skateboarding was growing. Tight-black-denimed and Diesel-jeaned transplants were moving to newly gentrified Williamsburg and Bushwick by the zillions, thus bringing new eyes to spots that were otherwise only known to few North Brooklyn locals (Vinnie Ponte or someone had like one trick there in either Peep This or Heads too.) With BAM knobbed and slated for demolition, the Verizon Banks — located at the then in-the-cut intersection of Meserole and Lorimer — became the most recognizable skate spot in Brooklyn.
Sadly, it did not live long after the release of Vicious Cycle, the seminal video that won the spot its desirability. It became blown out and knobbed before class of 2006 high schoolers even received their acceptance letters from Pratt. More sadly, alcoholism-inducing North Brooklyn destinations like Reggaeton Ledges, the B.Q.E. Lot and…the McCarren black “ledge” became the borough’s most sought-after spots.
Ten years passed and something happened.
People began skating Verizon Banks again.
Just as human bodies have evolved to process lactose, or an increasing percentage of people never have their wisdom teeth come in, skateboarder feet have evolved to deal with the deterrents at Verizon Banks. Whereas no human feet were quick enough to navigate between the knobs when the spot was first skate-proofed ten years ago, it has become a common trait on more deeply evolved skateboarders of the 2010s. Quick feet on slanted surfaces are now part of the skater genome, and a once believed-to-be obsolete spot is no longer a challenge for further advanced members of our species.
The question is, when will we develop an immunity to skate deterrents altogether? If sub-Saharan Africans can evolve to possess a genetic resistance to malaria, when can skateboarders — a species that evolves a million times faster than the average human (note the adoption of high-water pants as a premature measure for melted icecaps) — expect to grind between the knobs at Seaport, or be quick enough to merely ollie over the bar at the bottom of the big O on Water Street?
And will Jason Byoun’s grandson finally be able to boardslide through the six-stair rail with fifty knobs on it in front of Mount Sinai?