Words by Rob Rodrigues, Photos: Lori George, Jenna Synnott, and Rob Rodrigues.
Despite the fact that skateboarding was officially a crime in New York City this weekend, over 2,100 skaters came together for the 10th annual Broadway Bomb skateboard race.
The Broadway Bomb is the centerpiece for an entire weekend filled with three days of events and parties happening around New York City. The race, which took place Saturday, October 20, was ordered to be cancelled by the New York State Supreme Court, only two days prior. Race organizer, Ian Nichols was required to officially call off the event and communicate the cancellation to the 1,900 plus people registered on the Broadway Bomb Facebook event page and all other affiliated websites. This drew outrage and led to an increased listed attendance of 2,119 and hundreds of defiant comments.
Now in its 10th year, the annual race, which lacks a permit, was cited by the law department as having skaters "engaged in reckless and dangerous behavior such as failing to stop for red lights, cutting off and weaving through moving vehicles," which led to the injunction against it.
Despite the court order, hundreds of skaters on both long and short boards showed up to the starting line at 116th street and Broadway in Manhattan on Saturday morning. Heavy police presence inspired people to break off into smaller groups and disperse throughout surrounding neighborhoods in the immediate area. This collective move avoided the traffic gridlock associated with the Broadway Bomb in year’s prior and caused police to ease up on the skaters.
At noon, the traditional starting time, all of the riders started the descent downtown using paralleling avenues and alternative routes. A few brave souls walked past the police barrier on 116th street to start skating down Broadway against orders and signs threatening arrest. Eventually everyone would rejoin Broadway at some point during the eight-mile ride and filter past the Iconic Charging Bull in New York's financial district. Skateboarders kept moving past the bull, which has previously been the race's finish and celebration point. The police let everyone pass and move on without incident. I'm happy to say that no arrests were reported on Saturday.
The Broadway Bomb, despite legal motions, saw people come in from all over the world to take part in a rapidly growing movement. NYC Longboard retailers, Uncle Funkys and the Longboard Loft confirmed a giant spike in foot traffic and sales this past weekend.
Symbolic of the diversity in skateboarding, this past weekend saw some major highlights including the following:
Friday night – The International Distance Skateboard Association sanctioned the Blue Sky Mile Challenge. A new world record for the one mile skateboard push race timeof 3 minutes and 35 seconds was set by Steven Sanchez of Queens, NY.
Saturday morning – The "outlaw" Broadway Bomb race skirted seamlessly around legal issues to draw global and government attention.
Saturday afternoon – Sector 9 skateboards obtained a permit that allowed hundreds of skaters to legally have the Broadway Bomb after race BBQ on Saturday afternoon in the East River Park.
Sunday – Earthwing Skates' Steve Kong holds a Sunday afternoon charity Slidejam that drew hundreds of people and also raised $1,800 for donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Sanctioned on Friday, outlawed on Saturday morning, a permit for Saturday afternoon, and raising money for charity on Sunday—2013 is guaranteed to be even more epic!