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OUT HERE: Steezy Rider

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 12:49
From left: Brian Hensler on the ramp, Lee Minetree standing, Harry Minetree, and Chris Sibelia, Amagansett, 1977. (Note the Dog Town deck: Is that a Wes Humpston original, or did he D.I.Y. the logo on there with spraypaint?)
Cal Norris photograph / East Hampton Star archive

Skaters these days, they’re spoiled for choice. It wasn’t so in 1977, when skateboarding — like other youth subcultures, from punk on the Bowery to DJ Kool Herc in the Bronx — was still very much D.I.Y. As The Star reported on August 11 of that year, boarders on the East End really only had two destinations when they wanted to ride: “unused swimming pools” and “smooth, paved hills” like that at Mako Lane, down which the blond-haired boys of summer would bomb on their Santa Cruzes, scaring the bejeezus out of the grownups.

And so the Amagansett crew made their own plywood ramp, four feet wide and five feet tall, and plunked it down in the parking lot at the Amagansett railroad station. (The railroad station! In August! If that doesn’t tell you how much has changed since then, we don’t know what does. The days were long and the hair was longer.) The ramp broke apart pretty quickly, but no biggie. A year later, they were at it again, this time going even bigger, with a ramp eight feet wide and 12 feet high, hammered together at the East Hampton Town recreational zone on Abraham’s Path. Within days, though, the town had forced them to remove it, citing a lack of  insurance. Buzz kill.

When asked by a reporter if they imagined local government ever financially supporting the construction of a real skateboard park, like those that had popped up in 1977 in California, the boys only laughed.

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