At its core, skateboarding has always been about lifestyle over careerism. And because environment dictates so much of the skate process, finding the best locations for it is everything. Even skaters who are content to post up at now-abundant public skate parks, rather than stake out a prime spot on the street, care first and foremost about the makeup of each space.
Brooklyn is not as cheap as it used to be, but quiet streets, relatively few cop patrolling spots, and the ability to gang up with roommates to live here affordably have made it a global destination for skaters. It’s a place where you’re free to build DIY obstacles under the BQE, where they’ll last for years (provided the police don’t plow them down), where skate brands and shops can flourish, loft spaces can still be found—and, sometimes, even with enough square footage to house ramps and provide a winter skating haven. Most importantly, for every new residential or business construction, it still feels like there are blocks of untouched urban terrain left to explore.
“I like lurking in Brooklyn, whether it’s for skate spots or for food. The borough is massive and diverse in so many ways. I really enjoy South Brooklyn, because it has that old New York vibe. The feeling of nostalgia I get makes me feel like I grew up there.”
Professional Skateboarder / Bushwick
By nature, skaters are not stationary, and so Brooklyn also offers the flexibility to travel—to move, create, and, in a lot of cases, voluntarily pile out in a few-block radius in Greenpoint, playfully named the “Barmuda Triangle” by former pro-skateboarder, Billy Rohan, based on its proximity to Enid’s, Matchless, No Name, and other skate-friendly (a.k.a budget friendly) bars. Skaters travel here from anywhere, and everywhere, to make a name in skating. Others come just to make rent, have enough free time to skate, explore the city, go to art shows, party, and any other random things that pop up.
Below, you’ll meet some of the skateboarders who took a chance and skipped out on sunny California to create their own version of skateboarding in Brooklyn; those who have led its evolution, and seen it through gentrification, trend pieces, Thrasher T-Shirts, amateur long-boarders, and children on hazardous and really fucking sharp razor scooters, over the years. They are some of the people making the Brooklyn skate scene what it is today.
“I do really like the crusty, old, New York city look that can be found more often in Brooklyn. It can be found in the city, too, but seems more common in Brooklyn. Also, it’s mellower with pedestrian traffic. It’s easier to skate when there are fewer people walking into the shot or sitting on the spot unknowingly or something.”
Photographer / Greenpoint
BSA Boys at “The Couch”
“There’s much more inspiration in Lower Manhattan, specifically Chinatown, but it’s definitely more realistic living in Brooklyn. It allows me to have a more spacious home and studio space. To be totally honest, rent in Brooklyn actually is not so much cheaper than Manhattan anymore, but there are a lot of nice Polish people in my neighborhood, so you still can find a nice clean apartment at a good price. Actually, traveling on subway from Greenpoint is kinda terrible, but I usually take a Citi Bike to the train station or Downtown Manhattan even in winter time, so it’s pretty convenient for me.”
“The sketchier the neighborhood, the better to shoot because it’s less polished.”
Photographer / Greenpoint
“I just ended up moving to Brooklyn by chance. I was in-between
apartments and was staying with a family friend in Fort Greene. I ended up staying
there and fell in love with the hood. At first I planned to go back to Manhattan
but now there’s no other place I’d want to be“
Professional Skateboarder and Brand Owner / Fort Greene
“Building skateable objects is limitless. Ideas are bulletproof. If it’s fun for you, it’ll be fun enough for everyone else. I don’t try to please anyone, I just get sparked and throw something together. It doesn’t really matter, eventually something turns out all right.”
DIY Builder / Greenpoint
Conor Prunty 50-50 at Manhattan & Scholes aka “Blue Park”
Andy Kessler Day 2016
at House Of Vans
Skaters at House Of Vans Andy Kessler Day 2016 in Williamsburg