It All Started With a Manual — The Skateable History of Columbus Park

Skate spots are living, breathing things. They shift with the socioeconomic climate of the time, and position themselves to best adapt with people’s needs. Skateboarding has always been reflective of greater society, so it should come as no surprise that our lives were pushed into Columbus Park as we began to get pushed out of the pricier, glossier haunts that we once frequented in lower Manhattan.

Columbus Park sits on ominous ground. It was built on top of what was once America’s first slum: a hotbed of vice, disease, murder and clashes for control that have been documented in many books and films. Though it would take decades for the neighborhood to rid itself of the notoriety it earned throughout the 19th century, the city built Columbus Park in 1897. A hundred years passed, and then a guy from Clifton, New Jersey came along. The park began its second life as one of the few downtown spots you can skate in 2017 without getting kicked out.

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Three Up, Three Down

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The crew got a bit bigger, so it became necessary to make a round of stops on the Downtown circuit, the one with all the name brand spots that people fly here from all over the world for, only to find themselves terribly disappointed. The Chinatown Double-Set yielded a crew of non-skate-friendly Red China supporters, you get kicked out of the Courthouse pretty quickly these days (probably because companies started bribing the security there into being more aggressive with kick outs, in hopes of diminishing one-up possibilities of prominent two-page spread advertisements), it’s always good to stop by Black Hubba and remind yourself that the stairs there are actually pretty decent as well, and the C.I.A. Ledge has gotten the official, Barcelonian seal of approval as “The Best Ledge in New York.”

If you follow this site, you’ll notice that we pretty much skate none of these spots. Partially because they are in immense physical commitment, part because they’re boring unless the right people skate them, and also because when you pass by something every weekend for ten years, you start to get kind of bummed on it, and want to demand your “space.” It’s the sort of thing that marriages fall apart over after seemingly going so well. C.I.A. Ledge, of course, is the main exception to this statement though.

To bring the footage in these clips down to the QS level, we had to skate some routine QS spots. Places that nobody in their right mind ever bothers stopping at, like the Fat Alberts Ledge, that stupid highway divider to hill in the last QS clip, or the beloved three-up three-down. Apparently, there is an Eastern European patrol man there now that intended on making it in the UFC, but took a wrong turn and wound up in the Parks Department.

Clip and additional photos embedded after the jump. Had to take a page from the book of World Star for the branding, which might become a common practice due to goons (probably also in Eastern Europe) pulling jack-moves on the clips. If we’re trying to become the World Star of skateboarding, we’re going to have to take more cues from their practices.

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