The Yellow Rail was by no means ever a famous spot. Apart from a very memorable Bobby Puleo backside nosegrind in Static II, it was more of a local stomping ground from the early-2000s for kids from the Upper West Side, Harlem and Morningside (shout out Jasonwear.) But if you ever skated it, you remembered it. Like the Bronze meme said: “If you ever skated this spot, you had an awesome childhood.”
The spot was usually locked behind a fence. If you made it in on a board, there was sometimes a self-appointed park keeper who would lock you in, and tell you he was calling the cops (there was a way to squeeze back out through the fence.) The rail made no sense; as a children’s balance beam, it stood on asphalt rather than the safety rubber that was a foot away. For ten-plus years, the majority of skateboarders’ interactions with the spot were looking at it through the fence, and moving on.
Danny Weiss — one of those aforementioned west side skaters — was getting his hair cut across the street from Yellow Rail in July. He noticed that the playground was being demolished, with the rail cut from the asphalt and off in the rubble. He sent QS HQ a “R.I.P.” message to get the word out that the spot had finally met its end. Our first thought was posting the expected #spotcheck on the website + social channels.
But wait, somebody should save this thing! It’s a historic childhood spot!
In the midst of writing an Insta story notifying the masses that there was a perfectly good, 14-foot long flatbar that just needed some feet up for grabs on 109th Street, another epiphany came to mind: we can save this thing!
Danny asked the dudes demo’ing the playground if we could have it. They said sure, as long as we scoop it before 8 A.M. the next day, which is when the metal scrapping truck was due to arrive.
In a mad dash of securing a box truck long enough to fit this thing, finding someone comfortable enough with driving it (shout out Mitchell Wilson), and getting the rail out of there before the crew locked up for the day, we had to hit up Greg Navarro to see if he was home to run over there and double U-lock the fuckin’ thing to the fence overnight, in the event that the scrappers tried to take it early.
Long story short, our good friend and Shorty’s alumnus John Cruz welded some feet onto it at 4×8 Workshop in Brooklyn, repainted it, and we’re dropping it off at Tompkins. Would’ve been cool if it joined the A.V.E. bench to truly make T.F. a spot museum, but you can’t keep an A.V.E. bench in one place for too long ;)
Thanks to John Cruz, Greg Navarro, Mitchell Wilson, 4×8, and Wally Llerandez. Video by Greg Navarro.