This is a hard one for me to admit, but I had never been to New York before this event. I don’t really know why, I had been presented with multiple opportunities in the past, but I guess there was just some sort of stigma about the place that kept me from going. In college, I remember taking an art history class with a teacher who had migrated to the West coast from New York. Despite our lesson plan, we’d somehow always end up talking about how amazing, how non-stop, New York was. A good amount of my friends in LA are also East coast transplants, and they too, once on the topic, could never seem to stop going on and on about the different aspects of the city: The transportation system, the homeless people on the subway, the boroughs, the gnarly weather, blah blah blah. Being from the land of perpetual summer, I could never seem to justify a reason to want to go there. I’d seen various cop dramas on TV, NYPD Blue, Seven, etc. I’d seen the countless black and white photos, some famous, some not, of the towering buildings and endless streams of taxi cabs, Wall Street suits and ties, steaming manhole covers, drunk people in the streets. Before going, my impression of New York was that of a proverbial cross roads for improbability. Buildings, crime, cars, rats, piss, people, and pizza. Not an appealing spot for vacation when you live in a city that maintains a blissful temperature of 72 degrees most of the year. However, after this most recent adventure to The Big Apple, I think now I can truly understand the appeal of it all.
I arrived at JFK airport to haloed taxi cab headlamps and rain. A cold, bustling place of hard nosed people who seemed to shrug off the weather like a bad hangover. Within two hours time I was united with my Loaded Boards family and throwing back beers in a mid city bar at 3:30am. Despite our inebriated state, teammate Ethan Cochard and myself decided it wise to skate the dozen odd blocks to link up with fellow female shredder Daisy Johannes, who had graciously offered us a floor to crash on. After what seemed like one of the most arduous pushes I have ever accomplished, Ethan and I finally arrived at the Eurostar hotel, jet lagged, cold, damp, and in desperate need of a hot shower.
It almost felt like the city itself had been testing us. Trying to ward off the weak of heart with its sheets of rain, and bellowing wind. Separating the wheat from the chaff with challenging weather and countless hurdles of uncertainty. By late Friday afternoon the clouds had dispersed and the city began to dry up. New York had welcomed us into its folds as we prepared to do battle with the streets yet again. I didn’t pay much attention to the hype. Supposedly the city of New York had declared a cease and desist order on the Bomb, and threatened to arrest anyone on a skateboard obstructing traffic. This forced the event to be “unofficially canceled”, which made some waves within the community. “Just keep skating”, people said, “Don’t stop to let them catch you”. With an air of uncertainty floating about, everyone prepared for the best and the worst, the next morning was the moment of truth, the Broadway Bomb was upon us.
Well, partly because of the swarming police presence, and partly because of a bad call on directions, Ethan and I missed the main force. Scattered packs of skaters still bustled about Broadway, but the leading squad had left earlier than we had anticipated. None the less, despite this disappointing miscalculation, Ethan and I were determined to crush our way through traffic to catch the advancing armada of skateboarders before the end of the line. In a way, we had our own Broadway Bomb. Ethan and I blasted through pedestrians and taxi cabs, weaving an intricate line through the streets of Manhattan.
Our arrival at the final rendezvous point was met with a cheering swirling mass of skateboarders at least 1000 strong. People from all over the world had come to gather and celebrate the joy of the sport. A gleeful mass of people, boards, and wheels, all congregating in the same place. Despite the fact that we had missed the main event, reconnecting with everyone at the end made all our efforts worth while. Smiling faces and skateboards in every direction.
New York has a special appreciation for the constant. The continuous go go go that never leaves you with a dull moment. Much like the city itself, the Broadway Bomb celebrates this unique facet. The zipping and darting through traffic completely emulates the ebb and flow that embodies what the city of New York is all about. All the towering buildings, the wreck-less cabbies, the smoldering manhole covers, the moving masses. The Broadway Bomb will always be unique to its domain. A perfect representation of the push culture scene. The Bomb this year may have been “canceled”, but that didn’t stop the vibe of the city from keeping it alive.
Thanks for the read, now go skate!