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Published by Claire Alleaume (@TwoSetMag)


The world was my oyster, New York City in the 80’s, can you imagine? I was 14 year-old girl recently moved from the Hudson Valley 100 miles north. I quickly became a teenage skater girl craving adventure. I was independent, fearless, stubborn, but quite clueless and naïve.

Thank god I found skateboarding. None of my girlfriends skated (in fact there were only a few other girl skate at the time), so it was my “friends-that-were-boys” who helped me get going as a skater. Presented with my first board, I found I was a natural goofy foot but I had an aptitude and good balance; I loved skating at once. To some, the tight grid of city streets, endlessly lined with buildings might have seemed constrained and limited, but for me on my skate, it was a universe of potential; streets, bridges, banks, and parks, it was all the space I needed. 


For music, the Walkman came out somewhere in there and in the park there was always a boom box or actual musicians playing nearby, often all at the same time.

Towards the end of high school and into early college I got into ramp riding.  I loved that too, even though the adventures became even more socially complicated. Being a girl in a still mostly male sport I muddled through with the support of a few good friends. I never got really good at ramp riding but suffice it to say I still loved it completely. I loved dropping in and the swoosh and the grind.  I’d still be skating today if my knees would cooperate…


Skating quickly became more than getting from place to place. I loved cruising down the street, the comfortable freedom of constant movement, coasting and carving or even just standing still on my board or pushing up a long stretch of inclining avenue, it was all worth it. I took plenty of falls and tumbles, but even in all the traffic, even with the high likelihood of a parked cars door opening-I never got bumped or ran over.


As I met more skaters, and hung out at skate spots, the park or stoops, my confidence and grew and I learned to do a few tricks and cool moves.  Being a teen, the adventure became more complicated- the cliques, the boys, oh-, yeah, and school. none of it’s easy- even before cell phones or any kind of personal device. We used pay phones to stay in touch or just knew where to go to meet up, even though almost every place it was illegal to skate. 


Did I mention I had my 35mm camera with me almost always? I loved photography; good thing because the camera and darkroom were completely free through my school. With no restrictions, I felt compelled to capture the scene, moments, the light and shapes. I didn’t ever want to forget any of it.  At the time, there was no definition of this sporty sub-culture. No rules, no prescribed style or fashion, and I always felt so free. That’s what I remember most. I miss it. I am beyond nostalgic for it…

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