Well over a hundred skaters got their summer rolling Wednesday on the Banks under the Brooklyn Bridge in Lower Manhattan to celebrate Go Skate Day.
As traffic chugged above on June 21, a skating subculture inhabited the shadows beneath the historic span. Smoking and tinkering with their skateboards, the Banks — located, at the Intersection of Rose Street and Avenue of the Finest — has become a safe haven for a sect of society who live for the thrill of the ride.
Here, skaters laugh and joke with one another, pushing their buddies to soar a little higher or grind a little further.
The Banks officially reopened on May 24 during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting that Mayor Eric Adams and a gaggle of fellow elected officials hosted; the site had been shuttered for over a decade, and since that time, has been transformed into a happening hub for those in the scene.
“You have to realize there were like one or two generations that missed skating here because it’s been closed for 13 years,” Skater and Gotham Park member Steve Rodriguez told amNewYork Metro. “You got kids that are like 10-years-old, you got dudes like me who are like 50.”
Rodriguez spent years advocating for the Banks to be reopened since he explained that it is also where he skated growing up. For Rodriguez, the location is important due to it being a plaza that allows New Yorkers to come together, regardless of their interest in riding.
“It’s about the place and the culture and the vibe here. You look at it people hanging out, not everybody’s skateboarding. There’s literally nowhere like this, I get goosebumps,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a very welcoming space. You got females, males, gender neutral, everybody comes here, everybody hangs out. You know, it’s beautiful to see that.”
This camaraderie could be felt from those just sitting on their boards and chatting to the moment a skater busted his head during a botched trick. Despite bleeding profusely, fellow riders cheered him on as a medic bandaged him up and gave him a round of applause as he got back to his feet.
The Skatepark Project and Gotham Park celebrated this new open space on Go Skate Day with music, free food, and a friendly trick competition for all ages and genders. This marked the first official event held at the Banks since it was reopened last month and drew large crowds, amplifying the community in one spot.
“Skateboarding is life,” one rider said. “It is the little things that matter.”