Let’s get it going — a review of the year when it rained every single weekend in the summer.
Without further ado, here is the minutiae, the laughter, the tears, the triumphs and defeats that defined the year 2023 in New York skateboarding.
25. Somebody Up There Is A Real Jokester
Did we have an inside man at the architecture firm that half-assedly “redesigned” the plaza that once housed the Forbidden Banks? Did they have a sense of humor?
Imagine hiring someone to rework a public space that you’ve been chasing skaters out of for 20+ years — hosing down the spot with water, throwing eggs and swinging bats to prove your point — and that someone builds you …another fucking skate spot.
Jake Baldini boardslid the Forbidden Rail in the last Pangea edit, but it’s safe to say security is going to be chasing people out of there for another twenty years.
24. The 125th …er, um, 130th Street Ledge
Nothing sets off a frenzy quite like a slab of Spanish-grade rock with a negotiable bust plopped down onto Manhattan island. And this past summer, no text was sent as often to the city’s videographers and general knowers-of-things as “Has such-and-such been done on that ledge by Columbia?”
Naturally, the answer always was, “Yes, shuv out, too.”
23. The Leo Baker Ledge
It’s 2:45, there’s only two hours of daylight left, and you’re still arguing about where to skate.
Nobody wants to say it, but out it comes from one of your dumb friends, like a bodily function: “K Bridge?”
Beyond the obvious reasons — it’s far, it’s inconvenient (though there is now a Citibike dock right outside it), it’s depressing and under a bridge — the main knock on K Bridge is that it never produced An Iconic Box™ like T.F. spots of its sort are expected to. You know, to really bring the room together.
That is, until this year, when that Leo Baker box became K Bridge’s First Great Box™. It kinda looks like Stalin Plaza if you squint.
22. The Compounding Beauty of Doing Nothing
Not all heroes wear capes, and sometimes, heroes don’t need to do anything.
Minus the occasional glitch in the system when the sides of the building outside of security’s view were a go, the white spot across from Pyramid Ledges has been an immediate bust for as long as street skating has existed in New York. In decades past, the scene above would’ve been impossible.
Who knows if they’re on strike, overworked, or generally no longer give a shit, but this year, building security just …stopped. kicking. us. out. To the point where people were charging ollies over the gap straight into the security window.
21. John Shanhan Rides In Off the Roof
Five benches on each side and not much else. That’s how someone would describe the possibilities at the Benches Everyone Goes To When They Can’t Skate Flushing™.
Unless you’re wielding a Shanahanian third-eye and notice there’s a natural Mega Ramp roll-in waiting for you at each end.
20. Clips in the Fast Lane
Andrew Wilson Johnny’s Vid
Zac Gavin via Mind How You Go
Spots are a precious commodity in the increasingly cutthroat economy of clips, but should we be charging into a FDR Drive off-ramp in the pursuit of footage?
Yaje set this one off with a couple popover tricks in 2021’s Hardbody Video, but in the time since, it’s been bondo’d and is …another spot now. Be careful.
19. The Other 59th Street Plaza
Skaters’ brains are beautiful. Something could be sitting there since 1903 (literally), surrounded by everything from the 24-hour Apple Store to the white Jake Johnson wallride, and after 120 years, they can suddenly decide “You know what? Maybe we should skate that.”
This year, this spot was seen in everything from Homies Network edits to @p_tricky’s Instagram to Walker Ryan’s Thrasher part, despite having not appeared in anything else in the century-plus its been around.
18. Tee of the Year
In the time you will have spent reading this sentence, nine skaters will have started nine new brands.
Whether you’re printing your original art, riffing on existing logos, or simply making it look like your brand is actually a hardcore band, making a splash in the fickle world of Gildan tees has become profoundly difficult.
But every now and then, something taps into the zeitgeist in a way that esteemed fashion houses only wish they could. This F.T.I. tee was it, stopping anyone who caught sight of it in their tracks.
17. Verizon Banks Continue To Evolve
Alan Bell via “ab” part
Max Palmer via “Spiked Off” Part
It is fun to imagine what the state of the world would be if the Verizon Banks never got knobbed 20 years ago. During their most active days, they were far removed from any nexus-point of skater activity. Today, they’re a stone’s throw from Blue Park and Cooper.
But it’s probably more fun watching the world’s most advanced minds contend with the knobbed version of spot beyond merely quick-footed bank tricks between the knobs.
At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before they cover the whole thing in bumps, seeing as how they’ve been, um, front blunted.
16. A Young Man Tries to Boardslide A Bench in Tribeca
Via Melodi’s “Break Your Legs” Video
Few of us will ever know the glory of rolling away from a fat switch tre down a double-set.
All of us know the pain of getting bodied on some dumb shit.
That’s why this slams section from the Melodi video came up in more convos this year than most proper tricks. Because suffering is eternal. Especially in Tribeca.
Bonus Mini Rapidfire 5
Most Viral Sunburn: Chuck
Best Part By A Skate Shop Owner: Orchard’s Armin Bachman for Pepper Grip
A Lovely Return: Doogie’s part in Steve Mastorelli’s Don’t Ask Me When
Best Investigative Skateboard Journalism: Simple Magic on the trail of the bootleg Bobby Puleo boards
Non T-Shirt of the Year: Hardbody x Dancer flannel. “So, four skaters walk into a bar wearing the same exact plaid shirt…”