WORDS AND PHOTOS: JONATHAN MEHRING
The Brooklyn Banks is maybe the most iconic of NYC skate spots. It’s one of those places where, when you arrive, you feel different. You feel like you’re in the presence of greatness and history. There is something mystical about being beneath the Brooklyn Bridge overpass surrounded by century-old bricks and pigeon poop. It’s a place so photogenic that you can skate almost anything anyway you want and it looks awesome.
Much to the dismay of local skaters, the Banks was fenced off and turned into a storage area for construction materials about seven years ago. There was 24-hour security and huge I-beams filling the flat area. Grass was growing between the bricks in places and everyone just waited for it to be open again.
Well, that time has come… almost. The I-beams are gone and so are the security. There are holes in the fence and people have been skating. It’s been amazing to go back down there and see skaters ripping, both old and young. It’s both nostalgic and exhilarating to be back. The cops have been mellow for the most part. The weekends are the best time to skate and numerous days have passed without incident. It’s definitely safety-in-numbers, though. A few kids got tickets during the week from an irate officer, but most of the time they’ll just ask you to leave, if they stop at all.
The hope is that the city will open the Brooklyn Banks up to skaters again in the near future and the spot will officially be back. But for now, skate, have fun, and be prepared for flashing lights and a bullhorn to end your session occasionally.
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