Years ago, one could not talk about New York City skating without mentioning the iconic Brooklyn Banks spot. A plaza under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge that features smooth bricks with ideal transitions, benches, pillars and rails, it was easily the most legendary skate spot in all of New York City.
The key word there being “was”, because in 2010 the city fenced off the Brooklyn Banks to use the area as storage for equipment for work being done on the Brooklyn Bridge. The project was supposed to last four years, after which the city said the Banks would reopen for skating.
Unfortunately, that project has ultimately lasted much longer. But recently all of the construction equipment was removed from the skateable area and for the last couple of weekends, skaters have been sneaking in and skating the Banks again.
Just because skaters are sneaking in does not mean the Banks are opened again. What started with someone cutting a hole into the fence has spiraled from there.
TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING chatted with skate filmer and NYC legend R.B. Umali about going in there recently and found out that there are cops patrolled outside now.
While Umali and friends had about an hour to enjoy the Banks, cops eventually came and told them they would have to leave. But Umali noted that by acting cordial to the cops, they were given kindness back. The cops understand the situation and are being as lax as they can be with it.
Went back to the legendary Brooklyn Banks this weekend after over 7 years of closure. It was so great skating with everyone who made the pilgrimage- a real multigenerational assortment of kids from age 6-56 (one dude even drove up from Florida just to skate it, after not being here in 10 years) Shoutout to ALL of New York Skateboarding, awesome sesh with @stevernyc @rbumali @elsenornewyork @eli__reed @fvckmikepowley @elasticback @aintnokiddiesho @bogdamnit @mattkruszelnicki @sweepertheleg @jirodreamsofskating @shiki_rodriguez and @correa13 with this stylish wall ride nollie:@furkay #newyorkcity #brooklynbanks #skateboarding #gnarmads #thankyouskateboarding
Umali also notes that the fence will be repaired again, which has already happened, and the area is not permanently open yet. The best way to help make that happen is to write to the New York City Parks Department and tell them you’d like to see the Banks open again.
If you do decide to head into the Banks (which we don’t suggest doing so just yet), be aware that it’s technically still trespassing and you might not be treated as politely as Umali and crew were -- and they also had to give their names and I.D.s to law enforcement. But this is certainly a huge step in the right direction to getting the Banks open again for good.
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