January 16th was a good day

Recently, in the past few months, one of my skater friends said something about the mindset of skating. He said that whenever you have some time off, a week or month, or whatever, you think you figure out how to be better. You think you know how tricks work that give you difficulty, and when you finally get to skate you’ll rip. You’ll do everything you want and it’ll be great.  When you take time off the opposite is true, that when you get to skate everything is more difficult and fear/hesitancy gets in the way. So for a week I pondered various scenarios of me skating great yesterday, when shortly when I got to the L.E.S. park at around one the reality of my mediocre skills came to me full force, but I’m still glad I went.

I’m part of the NYC skateboarding meetup group on meetup.com. Through this site I met two good friends that I skated with quite a bit over the past two years, and that’s been great. One of them recently moved to California, and my other friend injured his wrist, so in the middle of last week, I posted a meetup for Saturday at the L.E.S. Skateboarding can be a solitary activity, but like everything having people to do it with and a crew is always better.  The temperature was great, perhaps in the fifties, and the L.E.S. skate park was crowded. I started skating and shortly noticed it was 1:30, a half hour past the scheduled meetup that three people said they’d go to. It’s possible some of them came and skated, but I quickly decided not to worry about it and skate. I don’t think I’m the best assistant organizer to this meetup group, because I tend to just skate, and not necessarily socialize.

Early on in the session, my shoes were something to whine about. After my session last Sunday I got the brilliant idea that it’s January and things are on sale in January. So before I met my sister for dinner last Sunday I went to the uptown blades. They had a lot of shoes on sale and I got the DC Ryan Smith shoes, for half off, which is a great deal. I might go to various shops in the next month and try to stock up for the year. Skate shoes can wear out as quickly as two months, so getting discounts on them is ideal. By the end of the session these DC shoes were fine, but at first they had a completely different feel than my DVS shoes.  They felt like they had no grip at all. Kickflips, which I usually have wired now, were going wild when I tried them.

The L.E.S park is a large space underneath the Manhattan bridge. It has at least three ledges with grindable edges of varying heights, a rail bar with a high and low portion, a pryamid, and all of these avant guard ledges. Last winter it was refurbished, and expanded. It is a park that has street skateboarding very much in mind, which contributes to its popularity.  Yesterday I would say there were 50 to 100 or more skaters there easily.  When it gets crowded I feel timid about collisions, and sometimes feel I’m on the verge of a panic/heart attack. Some amazing skating goes down there, and it’s one impressive trick after another. Therefore no one cheers people on, because you kind of became numb to it. From 1996 to 2000 I was a regular the Rossford ramp near Toledo Ohio and that felt like a community with encouragement for everyone who tried.  I recognize a couple of regulars at the L.E.S. but I think it’s big, and people just go there to skate. I could be wrong, and probably shouldn’t judge since I only go there once a month or so. I wouldn’t call the L.E.S scene hostile by any means, but I would call it indifferent and not very cohesive.

About a month ago the New York Times ran an article on Steve Rodriguez, who owns the skate company 5boro.  On some days this pro skater surfs in the Rockaways and then skates in Manhattan on the same day. I briefly talked to him which was cool. He skated really good and talked to a lot of people there. I thought that cool of him to skate like that with the masses, and maybe I’ll purchase a 5boro deck at some point. Just seeing some of the tricks done yesterday I wouldn’t be surprised if other skaters there are sponsored or even pro. Parts of the day when I felt beat I watched some of these skaters and just thinking how was it possible. An example was one guy was trying a backside lipslide on this bump ledge that’s about knee height and fifteen feet long, I’ll never do that.

Now I’ll talk of my own skating, at one point in the span of fifteen minutes I felt I slammed on every trick I tried. Falls included fakie kickflip on flat to hip smasher, railslide to butt thumper, nollie 180 with no pop to hip smasher, sloppy kickflips, and more. On the good note I got solid manuals, and eventually on the low part of the flat rail I got railslide a tad more consistent. Railslides are an easy standard trick, but somehow I’ve always done them sloppy.  At some point in the session I got inspiration to try frontside tailslides, another standard trick that I’m not that comfortable with. I kind of got them to tail stall on the ledge than is about 8 inches high. I think I’ll be able to get them in the foreseeable future. I also think I’m getting closer to the 360 flips, the rotation is there. I like and will go back to L.E.S. because of the flat rail and the manual pads. But for general practice it would be nice to skate with a small group somewhere that’s not crowded.

I skated from 1 to 4:30 mostly continually except for one break to finish up a chapter in Fear of Flying.  Because of transit creativity I ended up in Soho when I wanted to be near 2nd ave. I had time to kill and read some of Little Women in a café. Little Women is for a social book club on Wednesday and is a book I never thought I’d read. Walking from Soho to the L.E.S. takes awhile. I ate dinner with three other librarian friends that started in my system the same time I did. We ate at an Italian place called ‘Supper’ that I thought was very good. It was so relaxing to sit, eat, and discuss things after an exhausting day like that. Afterward we went to a cupcake shop, which I forgot the name of but it’s on Rivington street. The tea and small cupcake is a nice treat after a meal down there.

Despite being frustrated with some of my skate session, I think this is a wonderful way to spend a day off.

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