THE BRONX IS BURNING…
The Bronx is burning again…engulfed in a wildfire ignited by urethane wheels and spread by wood planks. This all-consuming blaze shows no signs of slowing down and instead of leaving behind a waste land; it continues to draw folks to the flame.
In a Borough once plagued by poverty and crime, it’s interesting to note that skateboarding would be embraced by the disenfranchised populations on both the East Coast and West Coast of the United States. It makes sense that a major reason would be one of skateboarding most enduring appeals. Skateboarding requires very little and it’s readily accessible to anyone with a board; but in the Bronx, it has not always been that way.
Fresh from a long day of middle school, I first found skateboarding on a mini ramp that I helped build in the backyard of a buddy’s house. We skated late into the night and after a long session where we all shared one board, I was hooked. A magical world was unveiled; a world we quickly learned was all but out of our reach. In the early ’80s, the skate industry was based almost exclusively in California. It would be a long time before our borough would have a shop or local company to help promote skateboarding in our neck of the woods. I, along with most others, would follow an invisible trail made up of Ollie ware present on people’s shoes and the occasional skate sticker in search of a board to buy.
Boy, how times have changed. While board companies and shops would eventually make an appearance on the NYC landscape, most were centered in Manhattan. Today, board companies, shops, parks and contests like “Battle for the Bronx” can be found in every single borough. With skateboard pioneers like Steve Rodriguez (5BORO) and Rodney Smith (Shut) leading the way, local legends like Rodney Torres (Torro), Rob Campbell (New Breed) and Nolan Lee (P.O.W.) have followed suit.
With the advent of social media and the internet, no longer are regional skate styles confined to the places which conceived them. Skaters all over the world continue to look towards skate culture in New York for inspiration, but never more than now. With such a bright future, the industry is starting to take notice and evidence of this can be found in the recent establishment of NYC’s very first skateboard distributor. Broadway Dist’s. mission is to “help New York skate companies expand and grow” and it looks set to do exactly that. With Rock Star Bearings, Trophy Grip, Savage Urethane and its most recent addition Indigenous Skateboards (Bronx, NY), the flames are stoked and ready to ignite the whole world.
WORDS BY ALBERTO CORREA
PHOTO: ANGEL FONSECA
PHOTO BY: ERIC CRUZ