We're obsessed with what's underneath our feet. Skateboarders seeing the world differently is the butt of every joke about Transworld video voice overs, but put more than three skaters together and eventually you'll end up with a discussion about what spots have good ground. With that in mind, we're introducing Pin Drop, a series talking to shop riders and family about notorious spots around Boston. First off is Jerry Fowler talking about the yellow barriers in Copley Square.
What's your favorite spot in or around Boston?
I would say Copley Square. Just that area.
What is the worst thing about skating there?
Back when we used to skate there a lot we had a few cops that weren't nice. They wouldn't just kick you out, they would, you know, grab you and do shit, so that you always had to kind of be on your toes, but it made it kind of cool at the same time.
What's it like to skate the yellow barrier?
It's kind of like a clusterfuck of a lot of things, because there’s four streets meeting right there: Huntington splits into two lanes, then you have Dartmouth and St. James. And then you also have the Mass Pike. So you kind of have to play the lights. Sometimes you can get two runs in when you know that the direction you're going has a red light. Usually it was one try per green light. Or if you were feeling courageous, you could just barge it, but I wasn't ever really too into turning my back to traffic. So there was that, and then there was also people, because there's two train stations right there. And it's also like a tourist place, there's the mall right there. So there was a ton of shit.
The barrier was weird, because it's not a ledge. If you were to put your nose or your tail on it all day, if you wouldn't have marks anywhere below the center of your nose, you know? You have to lock into it weird. If you stand up on it, you're not going to slide. You either have to really stand up on stuff to get to the slide or dip it a little bit. Locking your trucks on was easier if you had small wheels, It was just odd. And that's kind of why it was fun. It was just kind of like this weird little puzzle because there was so much going on. And that intersection is never quiet.
The cops wouldn't really mess with you, which is crazy, because they would mess with you, like 10 feet away at the library. And 100 yards away at the fountain they would mess with you. But then you're actually in traffic, and like they would just, you know, they would just honk at you or something and then like, wave and that was it. And then you could just wait for them to leave and keep skating.
What is your favorite trick that you've seen go down there?
I have a couple. Jahmal came down the hill really fast and he ollied up the bank and did a frontside bluntslide down the whole thing. I was there when he did it. It didn't take many tries. When you think about it, he probably had to go fast because he's riding sideways into a bluntslide. So the faster he goes, the less he's gonna ride sideways. It was just crazy, and then Robbie Gangemi frontside nose grinded up one day and came in straight. That was pretty cool. I don’t think anybody filmed it—I think we were just skating around. Steve Durante did switch bluntslide up it when I was there, he did it a bunch of times. Joey Pepper’s backside noseblunt slide. I wasn’t there for that, but it was pretty rad. Eli Reed, one day we were there he did a frontside noseslide on the inside and came in forward onto the pike. There’s been a lot done there. Ezra Brown just did a frontside tailslide up it, and it was super cool because he has tall guy style.
Interview by Ian Browning. Illustration by Ezra Brown. Compilation reedit by Lee Madden.