My Baby Takes The Morning Train — A Timeline of Skateboarding in the Subway

In a city where everything has been aestheticized by skate videos — curbs, trash cans, cellar doors — skateboarding inside the New York City subway system has still kept up an illusive mystique. We are hardly the only culture to fetishize the subway, which has tribute IG accounts chronicling the malarky that goes down on trains, right down to books celebrating the MTA’s use of Helvetica or cataloging its insignias. (Shout out BK!)

One of the great pitfalls of human psychology is that the more we can’t have something, the more we want it. Skateboarding in a subway station is no different. Every hurdle is revved up: there’s more people, less space, cops are generally angrier, the fines for getting caught are higher, and if your obstacle happens to involve a platform-to-platform connection, there’s an electrified third rail below. While the overall size of the system is about 850 miles, its A.B.D. list is still shorter than, say, Mambo Bar.

Boil the Ocean was right in describing Tyshawn’s December 2022 Thrasher cover as “that rare event that found Americans of nearly all political stripes and persuasions in agreement — a rarer and rarer occurrence in a land wherein the populace seems intent on sorting itself into ever-more specific subgroups of their own choosing.”

Have bigger gaps been kickflipped? Sure. Tyshawn himself has kickflipped bigger ones. But like the old real estate adage goes: “Location, location, location.”

On the occasion of this unifying moment in an increasingly divided populace, we felt it appropriate to pay tribute to skateboarding’s watershed moments within the subway system. (Jenkem had an extended list of spots some years back, but we’re talking about the rafters here.)


In the Mixtape credits section, the tricks into the subterranean hill that connects the Eighth Avenue trains to the L train at 14th Street were perhaps the first subway clips put to record. If you saw Zoo York’s first video in your formative skate years, this was just about the coolest fucking thing you’ve ever seen. “They’re skating…in the…subway?! *I* can skate in the subway?!” From 1997 forward, it was impossible to walk down any incline within the subway system without thinking of this eight seconds of footage.


This was bigger than the wheel, the printing press, electricity, or Slime Season 1, 2 or 3. This was a marble ten-stair inside of the subway!

Todd Jordan’s nollie backside 180 ad set the city’s children scouring every subway station, until everyone realized this exotic, forbidden fruit had been sitting under their stupid noses this whole time: 42nd Street — Bryant Park. Duh.

From 2002 through about ~2008, not a single day went by in Manhattan without a claimer down Indoor Ten: it could’ve been an ollie or a just-mastered flip trick. The steps were small enough that if you pushed really fast and barely popped, you’d clear them and have to brace for impact (the set doled out more than a few concussions to those out of their league.)

The complication was, of course, that these were the post-9/11 Bloomberg years, and cops lost their shit when they caught you skating in the subway. People got arrested for pursuing their childhood dreams of white marble immortality. Eventually, the craze died out, and the stairs were reconstructed into a drab, cement grey. The last known trick on the original incarnation was a switch backside flip by a young Tyshawn Jones in the closing montage of “cherry”, but more on him in a bit.


Here is where the timeline becomes disputed.

Colin Read’s Tengu video is released, elevating the very idea of a “conceptual” video. In it, there is a dedicated subway skating section that went viral beyond even skateboard media, picked up by Gothamist and the like.

The closing trick of that montage is Koki Loaiza ollieing the 145th Street station track, platform-to-platform. It was touted as the first-ever subway track ollie.

A year later, in Quartersnacks comments, a reader by the name of “cheeze” informed the people that his friend Mike from The Bronx had in fact ollied a subway track before Loazia, only this one was at the Fordham Road stop. He presented us with a 240p video as proof of Mike’s feat, though it’s no longer on YouTube.

We issued a correction, giving Mike his due.


People spent the next several years trying to copy skateboarders to little avail.


Though the Fulton Center subway hub was completed in 2014 and appeared in a video here and there during that diaspora after Indoor Ten was destroyed — and children spent years soul-searching for an indoor set to fill its place — its real moment did not arrive until COVID lockdowns. Following Naquan Rollings’ trilogy of pandemic-era edits, the Fulton Center nine became a fixture in New York edits (Carl Aikens above), and Indoor Ten had found its heir.


You knew this wasn’t going to end without mention of the Arizona Iced Tea Skate Team, right?

Brandon Bonner frontside 180’d the same 145th Street platform that Koki ollied in that series of edits that snuck onto the Transworld site, and created the axiom about nobody skating New York as hard as the Arizona Iced Tea Skate Team. (See #9.)


Skateboard Oscars Season received its dose of the unexpected. The murmurs of a Louie Lopez S.O.T.Y. shoo-in mellowed out once the aforementioned cover dropped, which Atiba dubbed his favorite skate photo. (Though, to be fair, whatever part contains Louie Lopez’s own storied Thrasher cover trick from this year has also yet to be released.) Tyshawn’s kickflip over the 145th Street track is distinct from his other cover photo over [above-ground] MTA infrastructure because while everyone knew that someday someone would ollie the 33rd Street 6 train entrance, a kickflip over the tracks never even registered as feasible.

Related: A Small History of New York’s Biggest Ollies


  1. We going to let Arizona Ice Tea crew get away with using a sign over the rumble strip?

  2. Someone will eventually kicklfip/FS flip/nollie inward heel over the tracks. Nobody will ollie 33rd st again

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