Feature

Report: The Broadway Bomb 2013

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Feature

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The morning came quicker then any of us expected. The evening before was filled with the sights, sounds, and experiences of a proper night on the town. There was the Uncle Funky’s welcoming gathering, and then a raging Brooklyn after-party that seemed as though it never actually planned on surrendering the evening’s exploits to the coming dawn. However, with all of the former eve’s debauchery now the stuff of legend, we awoke strewn about the floor of Alex Price’s modest Brooklyn apartment, with the start of the famed Broadway Bomb drawing near.

Cruisin' to uptown Manhattan via the express train.

Cruisin’ to uptown Manhattan via the express train.

It took us two trains to get from Brooklyn to Uptown Manhattan, but what we saw when we finally exited the bustling underground subway labyrinth was a swirling mass of skateboarders, some 1000 to 1500 members strong. The tumultuous tide of boarders, corralled by a hundred or so New York city police officers with barricades, looked to be on the verge of complete pandemonium. As the riders congregated, the police began making arrests, which only added fuel to an already raging fire. No more than fifteen minutes later, the war chant began: “Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb!” Growing louder and louder with each second, the police could do nothing but watch as the mass of boarders made a break for the park path that ran along side Broadway boulevard. Hurdling a wall and making their way down a hillside, the surging flow of humans with skateboards bypassed the multiple police roadblocks and barriers. The air heavy with dust, chanting, and now a low flying police helicopter, the event itself became more than just a stunt, it was a statement.

The NYPD tries to formulate a containment plan as the skaters gather.

The NYPD tries to formulate a containment plan as the skaters gather.

Who could have known this would have been "unlawful"... hmm, I wonder.

Who could have known this would be “unlawful”? … hmm.

The surging mass of skaters pays no heed to the law.

The surging mass of skaters pays no heed to the law.

Which led to arrests, which led to tension, which eventually led to skateboarding.

Which led to arrests, which led to tension, which eventually led to skateboarding.

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The crowd makes a break for it as the NYPD begins to close off streets.

The crowd makes a break for it as the NYPD begins to close off streets.

Skaters hurdle a wall into the park and flanks the first of many police barricades.

Skaters hurdle a wall into the park and flank the first of many police barricades.

Over the wall and down the hill to Broadway Boulvard we go.

Over the wall and down the hill to Broadway Boulevard we go.

Into the park!

Into the park!

Successfully getting past most of the initial NYPD roadblocks was an easy feat for the advancing surge of skateboarders. Like trying to grasp at water, all the police could do was attempt to cut off the flow further down the line. So as the wave of skateboarders made their way down Broadway, police began to set up makeshift roadblocks in an effort to slow the rolling tide. With little success, the flow of boarders just continued pushing forward. Neither authority nor automobile could do much to curb the advancing cascade of urethane wheels and jubilant chants. The Broadway Bomb 2013, despite all odds, accomplished exactly what it had set out to do: promote skateboarding under any and all conditions.

In an attempt to slow down the flow of skaters, the NYPD set up blockades.

In an attempt to slow down the flow of skaters, the NYPD set up blockades.

However, the blockades did very little to slow anyone down.

However, the blockades did very little to slow anyone down.

Threading taxi cabs and dodging police officers.

Threading taxi cabs and dodging police officers.

Cameron Frazier expels rainbows from his mouth as he lets out a banshee yell.

Cameron Frazier spits rainbows from his mouth as he lets out a banshee yell.

Times Square.

Times Square.

Spectators lined the sidewalks and cheered on the tide as traffic locked up.

Spectators lined the sidewalks and cheered on the tide as traffic locked up.

Running high-five trains on pedestrians all day.

Running high-five trains on pedestrians all day.

Horsing around.

Horsing around.

The Police helicopter followed the pack until the Hudson river. Then peeled off.

The Police helicopter tailed the pack until the Hudson river, then peeled off.

The armada of skaters envelopes the small river front park.

The armada of skaters envelopes the small river front park.

Hype men.

Hype men.

"Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb!"

“Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb! Broadway Bomb!”

Can't wait to do it all over again next year!

Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

As the skaters made their way down to the end of Broadway, they spilled out onto the bike path that runs along the edge of the Hudson river, tracing it along the water’s edge to eventually gather in full force at a small park with a lonely basket ball court and a BBQ pit. Upon arriving at the final destination, skaters rejoiced, recounting close calls and near death experiences of the day over burgers and brown bagged brews. It was a race, a battle, and a protest, all at the same time. From what I later heard, the mainstream media sources proclaimed the Broadway Bomb to be a bust, a complete and total failure. However, if you were on the ground and in the thick of it on that electrifying morning, you know that their prognosis couldn’t have been further from the truth. It was thrilling and in spite of an imposing police presence, it was a complete success. Another gratifying experience mobbing through the streets of New York, and yet another riveting year at the fabled Broadway Bomb.

Thanks for reading, now go to NYC and skateboard.

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  1. Mike Rensmaag

    Thanks for this! Critical Mass Longboard! It is no different from Critical Mass. Hopefully, some of the same lessons are transferable in preventing the police from stopping the gathering from happening:

    "It has been described as a 'monthly protest by cyclists reclaiming the streets.' Participants have insisted that these events should be viewed as 'celebrations' and spontaneous gatherings, and not as protests or organized demonstrations. >>>This stance allows Critical Mass to argue a legal position that its events can occur without advance notification of local police.<<<"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_Mass_(cycling)


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