Saturday links will be back on…Monday.
Interview by Ted Barrow on September 2, 2006
I moved here in ’91. I had been skating here before, since ’86, because my mom had a store in the city, so I used to come in and skate the city.
From Jersey. From the shore. You could see the progression of the Banks from going from one of those like, Mecca spots. To me, it’s one of the four spots. You could see it going from that to it being closed down as a police parking lot, to it being renovated, once, to it being closed off when the Trade Center happened the first time, they turned it into a parking lot then. And then when 9/11 happened they said it was closed indefinitely at that point for a year. Now it’s open again, [it has] been re-furbished again. They took the top, the small banks, which totally sucks, but you have to give a little. So, I’ve seen the whole life of the spot. Since ’86, because before that I didn’t skate.
Start at the beginning.
Basically, I started skating just in New Jersey, whatever, I guess it was popular in like ’83,’84. I was actually into BMX before that, but you know…
Many of us were…
Yeah, but one of my friends skated, I was like, “Oh, let me try your board,” or whatever, I got on that shit, and ever since then have been wanting to skate.
What spots were you skating back then?
It was suburbia, so strip malls, back yard pools. One of my best friends that skated had a backyard pool. Some shit had happened and they emptied it, and that’s where we started skating pools. Basically, our inventory to set-up was some of those vert ramps down by the shore, like Carville ramp, some of those rotten parks like Jeff Jones, that was some famous skater back then, he had a skatepark. One of my friends had a weird vert ramp with weird transitions. It was all shit we skated, but what we really wanted to skate was the strip malls, and little jump ramps like that. It wasn’t something where you’d have to like, kill yourself, and it seemed like it’d be more fun, more longevity in skating.
Street skating was more accessible, and everywhere. There was this one ramp called the Gandhi ramp, I don’t know why it was called that, but it was in my town and a lot of people would go there, a lot of pros. I remember Jim Murphy going there back in the Alva days. You’d be like, “Damn, that’s Jim Muryphy!” Or Jeff Kendall or somebody. Someone would always show up there. But we honestly would skate the ramps in his driveway than the [bigger] ramp. [The Gandhi ramp] seemed like it was something that was made beyond our ability. Just dropping in and doing a kickturn on the vert, you’re just so psyched, but you had an illusion that you were a better skateboarder if you skated street, you know what I mean? I think that’s what it was, because you wanted to do tricks. It took a longer time to learn stuff on vert. It was total commitment. I mean, we did it, but you could spend all day, and almost get a frontside air, or I could learn so much shit in the streets. There was a ramp culture down by the shore, because there were bowls, and established pros who had parks, but again, it seemed for our situation, and where we grew up in the suburbs, skating the strip malls was the equivalent of skating the city.
When did you start going into Manhattan to skate?
‘86, ’87, around then. My mother owned a store that’s actually where I live now, on 6th Avenue and Bleeker, the Bird Shit Banks used to be there, or the Bleeker Banks. It was right across the street, and I had come in with her, sort of like as a summer job to help her deliver shit, and right across the street were these sick fucking banks. I have photos from ’86 skating that spot.
It kind of worked out well because I eventually moved into that building, partly because that spot was right there. I was like, “Damn, I’m going to move right here,” you know? My uncle owns the building that’s adjacent to that park, so we never got kicked out.
When did you start going to the Banks?
The Banks, was probably in ’86, when we first started coming in. I’d come in with my friends from New Jersey, and every time we’d come in, we would go skate a little further.
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