Who would have thought that a city that never sleeps, notorious for its crazy traffic and upfront attitudes, would be so accepting of Rollerblading? Before I go any further I'd like to clarify that by 'accepting' I don't mean to say that the city has gone out of its way to accommodate skaters. In reality the number of paths and traditional inline friendly venues are few and far between. With skate specific venues not being a priority one really only has one option when skating in New York, which is to take to the streets.
For the average skater this will most definitely be an exercise of courage as the New York City streets are a very busy and chaotic place. At any moment a pedestrian may try to cross the street at the wrong time, a cab driver might suddenly stop to let a passenger out, or even worse the dreaded door prize (unexpectedly running into a car door as the driver carelessly opens it in front of) could be awarded to you at any moment in time. Yes, all these things are scary and yes, skating amongst traffic will add a certain amount of danger to any ride. But, for those up to the challenge, the New York Streets offer skaters a sense of freedom that I have never experienced in Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.
So how is New York accommodating to skaters? At this point I have described just about every way the city lets down the skater looking for a traditional experience. We'll lucky for you here at Shop Task we are anything but traditional.
The thing about skating in New York is that because the streets are so hectic, a certain every man for himself vibe comes into play on the roads. In the metropolitan areas that I skated it was my experience that drivers did not care about signalling or using the correct lane if it was inconveniet to them. These roads were a complete free for all where failure to move at a moments notice can get you stuck at a crosswalk for the better part of an afternoon. The more congested traffic is the easier I found it is to skate around and between cars. At the rate they were moving I found it easy to flow with traffic, maintaining a very similar speed as cars without putting myself in to much danger. If timed correctly approaching a red light could be your best friend as it allows you to seamlessly grab onto a bumper unseen and undetected in order to be pulled through the intersection and back into the thick of things.
Skating on the streets is accepted in New York because there is nothing anyone can do to stop you.
Being on skates makes an you an extremely efficient traveller as it combines the speed of a bike with the mobility of a pedestrian in order to get you to where you need to go. Skates allow you to be on the streets, sidewalks and all other sorts of public places. Why wait for a cab or rent a bike when all you need is a pair of skates and a sense of adventure?
When you limit your skating to the same paths, trails or skateparks skating becomes stagnant. Skating should be spontaneous, it should be about strapping on your skates and not knowing where they will take you next.This is exactly what skating in New York gives you. A free pass to explore the city at your own pace, your own time and on your own terms.
When your only goal is to keep moving everything else becomes that much more simple.