This past Friday, June 21st, while most city dwellers may have been too busy dusting off the barbecue grills and digging up beach essentials to notice, the New York City skateboard community was out in full force celebrating their own introduction to summer – Go Skateboarding Day 2013.
Although this year’s festivities — sponsored by CCS, Nike SB, 5Boro Skateboards, and Red Bull – kicked off in Queen’s Flushing Meadows park, it was the LES Coleman Oval Skatepark stop that really turned things all the way up to event’s annually-renowned critical mass. The park has a special significance for New York City skaters, you see. After the historic Brooklyn Banks, located just a few blocks down under the Brooklyn Bridge, were made off limits due to a Department of Transportation renovation project, LES Skatepark (as it’s also referred to) became a more prominent stomping ground for skaters in the area complete with prefab obstacles. In 2012, just in time for that year’s Go Skateboarding Day, the park received its most progressive facelift thanks to 5Boro founder Steve Rodriguez, his partnership with the Parks Department, and a bountiful grant from Nike. It now stands as one of the more premier “street” parks complete with bumps, wallrides, stairs, transitions around the perimeter, and a pyramid in the center.
The mid-afternoon throw down attracted skateboarders from far and wide, of all shapes, sizes, abilities, and ethnicities. They flocked by the hundreds to get a piece of the action, be it actually participating in the multiple trick contests going on in the park, or rallying around the free product tosses. It was the kind of organized chaos that only skateboarding can foster, with the more skilled riders competing for nooks to squeeze through and knock out a trick or three between the surrounding hordes. Add that to the fact that a few famous professional skaters and local faces like Queen’s Rodney Torres, and Nike SB’s Paul Rodriguez and Alex Olson were also in the midst, sometimes too surrounded by adoring fans to get any of their own action on. But when you really think about it, that’s what it’s about. Go Skateboarding Day is about being thankful and giving back to a past time that’s not only catapulted to the forefront of media and culture via its athletes and creatives, but has also given so many new opportunities to the many inner city kids that have dedicated themselves to it. Whether they were skating or not, all of the parties involved converged in the spirit of one love, one sport, one board, and Mass Appeal was there to capture all of the sights and thrills.
Photography by Ruben Henriquez (HelpRuben)