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A half-pipe skateboard ramp popped up over the weekend in Wampum’s Coney Island pop-up shop. It really turned our head! The ramp brought to mind the Minnesota State Fair, where we saw local skateboarders perform in Lair Skatepark’s X-Zone. Located in Thor Equities “Retail Ride of A Lifetime” Building, which has neither arcades nor amusements, the indoor half-pipe at least brings something unique to Coney Island. It could be year-round “entertainment retail” if the skate shop, which is leasing the space for the summer, decides to stick around.

During the rezoning hoopla in 2008, the City proposed the creation of “entertainment retail” in the part of the former 60-acre amusement area designated “Coney East,” yet struggled to come up with viable examples. At a Municipal Art Society panel, Brooklyn Director of City Planning Purnima Kapur replied to a question from the moderator by mentioning Dave & Busters and ESPN Zone, laser tag and virtual reality. Yawn. An indoor ramp where you could see skateboarders do tricks where you also try out and buy boards would be cool.

wampum

Wampum Skate Shop in Coney Island. June 1, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Wampum, which bills itself as a “lifestyle clothing brand and skate shop” and has locations in Bridgehampton and Nolita, opened the 2,500 square foot shop on Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue for the summer season. When we interviewed Wampum co-owner Lennon Ficalora in April, he talked about putting in a ramp. For now, employees are using it for demos to draw people inside the cavernous store. Will local skateboarders be able to give it a go? They’re looking into the logistics of having the public sign waivers, Wampum’s skateboarding sales clerk said.

Update: This Wampum location closed for the season after Labor Day Weekend. Throughout the summer, the half-pipe was used by store employees for demos and as a stage for a rock band. It did not open to the general public.

Wampum Coney Island

T shirts, caps and boards for sale at Wampum Coney Island on Opening Weekend. May 27, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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Next Saturday at 6 pm, longboard skaters will gather outside Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for the 2nd Warriors Race to Coney Island. The 26-mile themed race follows the route of the gang making their way home to Coney in the 1970s cult film “The Warriors.” Last year’s event kicked off with the ceremonial chanting of lines from the movie like “Can you dig it?” and “Come out and playyyy.” The race finishes at the entrance to the Cyclone at Surf Ave and West 10th Street in Coney Island. Can the skaters beat last July’s best time of 2 hours and 3 minutes?

Registered teams include the Lizzies, Riffs, Blades, Coedz, Bopperz, Indie Pushers, Kryptonchronics, and of course the Warriors. ATZ asked Warrior team member Mike Dallas to fill us in on the details of the race and why it’s scheduled so early in the year…

Most teams are returners but 4-5 teams have registered that are new to the event. Not all teams have the same members either – this year the rules are slightly different. The only checkpoint is Union Square and teams may start with more than 3 members. Three skaters must finish per team to qualify for an official time.

Most skaters are local but because of the Longboard Expo at Longboard Loft NYC at 132 Allen St on March 11, we expect a lot more to join. We started the race with 51 last year. 31 finished. Top time was 2 hr 3mins. We will do more than one Warriors Race in 2011. This was planned early because of the Longboard Expo and flood of skaters in NYC that weekend. Hype about the race has made it around the world, this is a chance for skaters outside NYC to get involved in an event while they’re visiting for the Expo and Concrete Wave Reader’s Choice Awards Ceremony.

The world’s first longboard trade show will showcase the products of 32 national and international companies. The free event at Longboard Loft on the Lower East Side is on March 11 from 12 noon till 8 pm.

The first Warriors Race was held on July 23, 2010. Check out Mike Dallas’s great report and photos on Bustin Boards. This video was shot on Surf Avenue after the skaters arrived in Coney Island.

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