BY Rainey “Skates” Cruz
There was a time when skateboarding was synonymous with California and the West Coast. The late 60’s and early 70’s scene was full of traditional and not-so-traditional surfers that would also “street surf” on small wooden planks with clay wheels. Then came the Dogtown Z-boys, famous for catapulting skateboarding into the national spotlight thanks to the invention of the more aggressive polyurethane wheels. Documentation of their progression and theatrics at competitions and pool bowls captivated the minds of young soon-to-be-skaters from all over. The East Coast caught wind.
Fast forward 20 or so years after the Z-boy era, and New York City’s very own skateboard scene began to flourish as many of the West Coast vibes and styles forged with the urban terrain. Small pockets of kids from all over the city were getting down, and Uptown was no exception. According to Uptown scenesters and skate pioneers like Alex Corporan (Supreme, Etnies Gallery and Showroom), while other kids were busy embracing the norm, he was embarking on adventures Downtown and bringing that vibe right back up to Northern Manhattan.
Now, with the scene as active as it’s ever been, it isn’t too hard to come across skaters and their neighborhood stomping grounds. The usual tell-tale signs include tipped over park dumpsters or traffic cones (used to jump over and practice tricks with). Some other, more hidden signs include black grind marks on curbs, ledges, and benches.
If you ask me, it’s a great thing for the Uptown community. The youth are active, they’re coming together, they’re exploring, and they’re engaging with their environment. Not to mention that there’s also business opportunities for the burgeoning scene.
Uptown bike-scene staple, Tread Bike Shop, has reacted to the skate surge by actually adding a skateboard section to their already massive shop. Currently, it’s the only shop that caters to the Uptown skateboard community.