Words & Interviews by Frozen in Carbonite
Illustrations by Cosme Studio
The history of the [largely extinct] American Skate Plaza™ has been documented meticulously in thousands of hours of video footage, interviews and podcasts.
However, documentarians of #theculture have largely overlooked the ancillary dining establishments that fueled — on a molecular level — the innovation and unforgettable sessions at spots like the Brooklyn Banks, Pulaski, Embarcadero and Love Park.
Until the rise of “foodie” culture, Yelp and the general trend of eating healthy and shit, most skaters’ palates trended towards the most convenient fast-casual options.
With that in mind, and in conjunction with New York Restaurant Week (which is apparently almost a month long ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), we present Quartersnacks Restaurant Week — an oral history of legendary spot-adjacent fast food restaurants. Over the course of conducting the interviews, some common themes emerged, i.e. most skaters favored carb-heavy menu options as an easily accessible energy source. In addition, at most spots the skaters and food service workers formed alliances — an interesting anthropological wrinkle in terms of how different cultures interact.
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Apologies for this being a bit late. We spent all of yesterday looking for the only dry spot in New York. Past installments here: #s 25-21, #s 20-16.
15. R.I.P. to an Empire, the Water Street McDonald’s Closes
For every great skate spot, there is an accompanying fast food restaurant: the Burger King down the street from the Banks, the McDonald’s up the hill from Pulaski, the Wawa by Love, or the In-N-Out across from Hollywood High.
Water Street was once the most heavily treaded road of lower Manhattan skateboarders; Pappalardo and Wenning’s days of going to Burritoville near Pyramid Ledges to sustain on free nachos are well known. But that place closed. The aforementioned Burger King is now a high end grocery store. The nearby Wendy’s was turned into a tourist center. And this past year, the final remaining destination for hungry, poor skateboarders, shut its doors. Skating on Water Street isn’t irrelevant just because all of the spots are knobbed — but because everyone except the top 1% of skateboarders (those with
an above minimum-wage income any income whatsoever, who can afford a Chipotle burrito) have effectively been priced out, right down to food options.
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