Skateboarding was way underground back in the early 80’s
after the parks closed and lots of people bailed. The fire was not
out though, not in our neck of the woods. Ramps were built in
backyards, the woods, and, yes, even barns. If you wanted to
skateboard in the Northeast, you had to work for it — build it yourself —
get out there and help others build theirs, and get it going.
The weather was also a huge obstacle. Rain was always a bummer,
but snow and ice was where it got interesting. Shovel the ramp before
the driveway. When the driveway and sidewalk were done, the ramp would
be dry. Chipping ice and melting it with space heaters was common.
Getting to ride was the payoff.
The one place shovels weren’t needed though, was the Barn. The
Kane brothers, along with Jay “Damn it!” Henry and the future Team Steam,
beat the elements with a 12′ wide, 8′ tranny, and 1′ vert ramp with angle iron
for coping. 12′ Wide was cool, but 16′ was better, and soon the ramp was
widened, layered with masonite and topped with pipe coping on the dark
side and some chunky rock top pool coping on the other.
From my vantage point, I couldn’t see the coping on the next wall
from the deck due to the beams that held the lights and the barn together.
Your hands would sometimes hit the beam if you flailed. Bats would fly,
rats, possums and raccoons dug the place and kept it interesting.
Skating at night was a bonus, but when someone would trip over the
extension cord outside, you’d better hope you weren’t riding.
You never knew who would turn up. The door would open
and “No way!” You were greeted by friends you haven’t seen in a
long time. The locals would session all of the time, but Wednesdays
and Saturdays were when the out-of-towner’s would know there would
be a session. Heavy sessions went down. Total aggression. Punk and
metal blasted, and so did the skaters. It was all happening fast, so you’d
better be paying attention.
Unreal times, great memories, and lifelong friendships, all thanks
to skateboarding. Talk about East Coast pride — mine stems from the
places we built and rode, but most importantly the people I’ve been
fortunate to get to know along the way.
For The House of Steam 2007
Tom Groholski 85 The Barn NJ
Photo by I CHING
Not gonna say much here, Tom said it all…
I will add though the chunky pool coping was taken off of my folks back yard pool!!
thanks Mom and Dad.
Along with this crazy good essay Tom has sent us 12 seriously vintage photos so lets call it The House of Tom while I get em all posted.
Thanks to Wendy and Tony for getting it all together…(Check out Squindo.net)
and Tom for the big Ole stamp of approval!!! You Rule!!
Lotta Steam Boys in this add circa 1988?
Photography by Geoff Graham
Bernie O’Dowd for the win followed by Darren “Moose” Menditto. Phil Rouchard, Paul Wisniewski, and Dave Dalton fill out the top five.
J&I Athletic Supply, National Skates, VK Sports (Anyone remember these?)
So if you know the date of this contest or you placed 6th or higher send us a comment!!
Photos of Bernie and Geoff
Bernie O’Dowd for the win with Darren, Dalton, Tag andNJ Barn Founder Dennis Kane (sponsored by TEAM STEAM!) all trailing.
Geoff places and Jimmy Kane trailing in the 16 and uppers!!!
Yes my Brutha’s!