Right now, the most Insta-famous street spot in New York is a Williamsburg basketball court with a couple plastic benches.
Prior to this spring — with the exception of a few loose video appearances — they’ve just been sitting there.
“Are those plastic?” A group of young men would observe, and keep skating onward to the Monument, onward to Reggaeton Ledges, onward to see if anything new and interesting had been built on the waterfront.
“There’s a whole city out there! Why waste time on recycled plastic?!”
Spring hits, and sometimes, you just want a Straight Fucking Ledge™, preferably with an end. Are you really trying to spend the first 60-degree day taking the train to Lenox for the first time in six months to remember why you haven’t been to Lenox in six months? The ease and the convenience is too much to resist.
It’s like that nu-age bodega that opened on your block: a nice sign, clean refrigerators, and all sorts of new snacks that you’ve never even heard of.
But downstairs is your local. It has sustained you for years. They have seen you at your worst and your best — no, mainly at your worst — never judging your character, or making you feel weird about the crazy shit you were buying at 4:17 A.M, with lord knows what standing next to you. It doesn’t have everything you need all the time, but they’re family. You love them, imperfections and all.
Except sometimes, they’ll sell you eggs two days past the expiration date. Sometimes, the tops of the beer cans are 15% dirtier than the acceptable city limit for bodega beer can grime. Sometimes, they’re closed, even though they’re open 24 hours.
Then, there’s the L.E.D. awning siren’s call of nu-age bodega down the block. They have no card minimum, and the grill stays on all hours of the night. The guy behind the counter greeted you as “my friend” the first time he ever saw you — eons away from the “papi” that took years to earn from the guy downstairs, culminating with full respect that time he told you the 59¢ Cup Noodles you were buying was $5,000.
The guilt is there, creeping onto the back of your shoulders. Is it enough? When’s the last time he even called you papi?
Sure, there is an entire society of crusty ledges that have sustained decades of New York noseslides, but think of a row of recycled plastic benches. The ground is smooth, there are no cracks, and barely any wax required. There are ends! There’s no bust. They’re even centrally located! You can hit one set frontside, and the other backside, all in the same go — an unprecedented feat of New York spot engineering.
Alex Olson might’ve mentioned how “seduction about never felt this good,” but when propositioned with a couple smooth plastic benches like these — a spring fling never felt this…easy?