The season's second Williamsburg Walks took place this weekend (last Saturday was rained out), with Bedford Avenue closed to traffic from North 4th to North 9th Streets. Community groups set up tables, chairs, blankets and pillows for passers-by to linger and chat, and an atmosphere of peaceful conviviality prevailed—until the teenagers came with their accursed skateboards! With its indoor half-pipe, the KCDC skate shop on Wythe has been a magnet for skaters for years now, and on Saturday the place was packed for Go Skateboarding Day, with hundreds of youths rolling over to Bedford to gleam the cube.
At times the constant stream of skaters swelled to a critical mass of hundreds, with some tables and barricades getting knocked over in the flood. Also: LOUD! Reacting to the incessant swarm, Williamsburg local Paul Wegimont says, "I don't have any vendetta against skateboarders, but when the street is closed down and you have tables set up and small children out there then you shouldn't be allowed to blaze through on your skateboard. It's borderline dangerous." Wegimont thinks police should require skateboarders and cyclists to dismount and walk, and given cops' instinctive tendency to hassle skaters and bikers, we don't see why this shouldn't happen. After all, it's Williamsburg Walks, not Williamsburg Shreds.
But Ryan Kuonen at Neighbors Allied for Good Growth [NAG], which co-organizes Williamsburg Walks with the L Magazine, insists the previous Saturday wasn't nearly as saturated with skaters. She tells us, "It would have been nice if they'd been more respectful. But I'd hate to see rules implemented to bar someone from politely cruising through on a bike or skateboard." Okay, we'll see how it goes this Saturday, but if armies of skaters start marauding through again, we're stringing up some tripwire.