By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
The story begins back in the 1980s during the skateboarding craze, the discipline left its birth bed of California to proliferate to almost every corner of the unites states and the world, NYC was no exception. The thriving local scene found its nest in the Brooklyn banks, a name given by the skaters themselves that lacking a skatepark, found a spot that had most and some of the best skateable features a street skater would want to ride.
The spot is located in the area under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, and its unique brick banks became one of the most sought out features for skaters all over New York, its smooth surfaces, benches, pillars, stairs, and rails made it a skateboarding paradise like no other in the city, unfortunately, “progression” came, and by 2015 or so the site was fully closed to the public to create a storage site for material used in the construction and renovations of the Brooklyn bridge.
This did not stop for the local skaters to enter the site and skate what was left of it since after many renovations some of the most beloved features of the park had completely disappeared, but skaters have been fighting ever since and even before that to have the spot reopened and reinstated to its original glory.
A Hard Wake Up
Just a few days ago, videos started to surface online showing that the famous bricks had been removed from the site to the outrage of the skateboard community, who at some point, was promised that the place was going to become a public skatepark due to the amount of cultural influence and history it had for not only skateboarding but also the BMX local community that rode those bricks for over 2 decades.
Some of the most iconic NY skaters made the spot famous by being the first ones to puff off some sick SHIT® on that place and take advantage of what it had to offer, the spot has also featured many times in amateur skateboarding tapes from the late ’80s and ’90s making it one of the landmarks of the city.
But the SHIT® is not looking good, some guys from the Jenkem crew, even got inside the spot in spite the heavy security that it’s preventing from anyone to get inside and not to bring you down, but the landscape is very depressing and filled with machines and construction material that really makes you want to look away, the spot looks far from what it was back in the day!
Some local skaters are even breaking into the construction site to get a brick from the iconic spot before it is too late, for some people it could be just a brick, but for a real NY skater, this is not only a souvenir but a piece of history! And who knows how many wheels went over it!
NY Keeps Hope
Most agree, that it is a shady move from NY’s government to do this during the pandemic, which clearly prevents people to be 100% on top of the situation, and they claim that if this was not the case, NY skater would not have let the machines in the banks.
Altho, most skaters are out of hope and see these recent happening as the final stage of the Brooklyn banks, there are still many others that are willing to put up a big fight to save the iconic spot from fading into nothingness.
Jonathan Becker and David Carozza, are the ones responsible of an online petition that went fully viral by getting in contact with one of the most iconic NY skating figures, Steve Rodriguez, who at age 40, has been one of the guys responsible for some of the best skateparks in NY, and not only this, he is probably the person with the most knowledge of the skateboarding history of the Brooklyn banks, from there, the petition Jonathan and David made in Change.org, has received thousands of signatures not only from local skaters but also the worldwide skateboarding community and some of the biggest names in the industry.
Artists, musicians, company owners and more, have signed the petition to save the iconic spot, and an online rally began to achieve the goal! Josh Kalis, Chewy Cannon, director William Strobeck, photographer Atiba Jefferson, east Coast legend Mike Vallely and Philly’ Stevie Williams. Tom Penny, The Muska, DC, Flip, BMX-ers, and eventually Supreme, joined the cause to help out the NY skating community from losing one of its most famous landmarks!
Stacey Peralta, Himself got involved in the whole situation and gave the following statement: “The history of New York City skateboarding is carved into those bank walls, and those walls have been nourishing skaters for generations.” within a few days, the petition had reached over 40.000 signatures.
This is how important the spot became not only for local skaters but also for a worldwide community that grew up seeing it in their favorite skateboarding videos from the late ’80s and ’90s wishing to be able to skate on it. The spot had not been concurred for a while due to its security level, the development of new structures, and the evolution of a city that seems now to be built for street skateboarding, but its history remains, and there are many people that want to preserve it.
How Can You Help?
Many historical landmarks have disappeared over the years, and it is our duty to protect them or at least learn their history and the impact they have had on our community! So if you are wondering how you can do so for the Brooklyn banks, it is very easy my dude or dudette, you can sign the petition here, and join a worldwide skateboarding community that is trying to prevent from this place from disappearing (at least in its entirety).
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