© Copyright 2011 FireBladerDk
It is perfectly possible to skate in the streets of New York!
May 25'th I joined the New York Weddensday Night Skaters on a plus 20 km roller skater tour in Manhattan.
Starting late afternoon on foot in 94'th street I went to Central Park where I put on my Roller Skates and rolled to the the south end of the park via excellent roads inside the park. A local policeman told me that it was ok to skate almost anywhere - on pavement or in the street.
Coming out of the park I continued south via Broadway most of the time running in the street between cars, trucks, busses and a few brave bicycles!
Filtering through Broadway's traffic - using streat and side walk (photos by FireBladerDk)
Being on roller skates was extremely effective, because I could more or less continuously move forward, either between the traffic lanes or on the pavement. It was a little scary at first, but I soon learned that the trafic is relaxed and that the motorized drivers generally are very carefull when changing lanes, and were always respecting my presence when I was in front of them.
Soon I feelt like a real New Yorker, because this was not how other tourists behaved. In fact I did not see other rollers on my way to the WNS meeting point, so skating is probably not quite common among New Yorkers either.
After about 4.5 miles I arrived at the WNS meeting point at South End of Union Square Park (14th street), near the stairs in good time before 8.00 pm. The first skaters arrived at 7.30 and soon we were more than 50, among these some in orange WNS t-shirts, they were the staff people.
My "Friday Night Skaters Copenhagen" t-shirt gave me a special welcome (Michael at left, photo by Mocha)
Exchangeing helmet autographs with Mocha (NY WNS organizer, at left, (photo by FireBladerDk)
The WNS organizer Mocha led the way much faster than the slowest rollers, but paused here and there, so everybody could keep up. Having no police escorte and not blocking the crossings as we do in Copenhagen FNS, we had to wait on red at traffic lights - at least untill there were no passing traffic (in New York pedestriants - and rollers - pass on red if the crossing is clear - police officers don't even lift an eyebrow for this). I liked this way of setting the pace, because if you want to go fast you just follow Mocha, and if you want to go really fast, you just leave from a pause as one of the last persons and then try to catch up with Mocha.
The 13.3 miles route (by Elvin)
We passed Central Park while the sun was setteling and when we came to Jefferson Park it was utterly dark and quite thrilling to run, because it was impossible to see the surface on which we were running (a small torch would have come in handy here).
Filtering through Manhattan at nightfall (photos by FireBladerDk)
In general the streats and side walks in Manhattan are excellent for skaters, but there are challenges. Often our route had slopes up to say 5% and there were deep potholes to watch out for. Hence wearing protective gear is a good idea.
After 13.3 miles we were back at Union Square Park where arround 20 of us continued to the WNS scater's hang-out bar Mumbles (17th and 3rd). Here Norma resided behind the bar counter serving frittes and beer for the socialising and very thirsty skaters.
Socialising at Mumbles (Norma and Mike left, Mocha right, photos by FireBladerDk)
Two of the skaters - Laura and Chriss - told me that they teach skating at Columbus Circle every thursday evening (if I remember right) so if you are not already a skater - or need to improve your skills - then go there and learn.
I had a really joyfull after-skating, talked to many other nice people and after a number of Blue Moons I decided to take a yellow cap back to the hotel.