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.

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A Small History of New York’s Biggest Ollies

Photo by Mike Heikkila. See how glorious non-Instagram resolution is? Didn’t even notice the guy peeking out of the bottom corner until seeing the full res on the Chocolate site.

Every day, we pull up to spots and begin rattling off their A.B.D. lists. The 2020 footage economy will even have you forgetting that Tiago switch back smithed the Columbus Park rail, and people in your Insta comments will yell at you about not including Sean’s back lip down Tekashi 10. (Didn’t have a digital copy of “BLESSED” on-hand, sheesh!)

Something that has only been ollied, however, is an entirely different topic. It is a conversation of how rather than what.

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The 2013 New York Skateboarding Year in Review: 5-1

subway ollie

2013 was okay. What is it about New Year’s this year that makes it seem more garbage than usual though? Anyway, like, where’s everyone at tonight? ;)

Previously: #s 25-21, #s 20-16, #s 15-11, #s 10-6, The Year in T.F. Obstacles

5. The Subway Track Ollie

If you have ever stood on a subway platform staring at the countdown clock, the thought has come to mind: “Could someone hypothetically ollie over the tracks?” In theory, if Jeremy Wray did that water tower ollie, it’d have to be possible. Then you’d consider the additional curve-in, the timing, the train, the bust, and eventually, the third rail, which stands to give anyone who touches it an unpleasant departure from earth in the event of a worst case scenario.

The speculation ended this year, as Koki Loaiza ollied from platform to platform at the 145th Street A station…going towards the third rail and earning press from media outlets far beyond skateboarding’s typical reach.

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