Jumping the Tracks with 43 Magazine

There are certain rules that go unsaid, even to the very young and the sloppy drunk. Perhaps chief among those is to never, ever play on subway tracks. I mean, why would you ever think to warn someone about that? Even if they didn’t know about the lethally electrified third rail, there’s the much more visible threat of a crushing collision with an oncoming train and, less fatal but let’s face it also pretty terrifying, swarms of rats. It’s a good thing skateboarders don’t always follow conventional (or sane) wisdom.

On Tuesday night, photographer Allen Ying unveiled the third issue of 43, the New York-based independent, non-profit skate mag. Each issue is a thing of beauty, filled with Allen’s large, gorgeous photos, and this one in particular is special because every shot is of a skateboarder shredding his way through the five boroughs, including one series of photos that follows Colin Read’s crew travelling through, you guessed it, the subway.

Which is how Allen found himself standing at the bottom of the 145th St. station tunnel beside Colin as they waited for a skateboarder named Koki to risk the third rail, trains and rats to ollie from one subway platform to the other.

“Cooper scouted it out,” Allen told me. “Basically the platform doesn’t have those yellow bumps at the edge and on one side, the part where [Koki] is coming from, that platform was just wide enough to get enough speed. Although at the time we didn’t know if it was, but if there was one where we could do it, this was the one.”

“It was probably like 4 or close to 5am, and we were waiting for a good time when there weren’t as many people or MTA workers around. Koki was planning out his route because he couldn’t just go straight at it. He had to kind of run diagonal and then turn and then jump on his board going straight and then go straight over [the tracks].”

While Koki hyped himself up for the jump, Allen, Colin and the rest of the crew started looking for the best angles to film and take photos. They settled on the subway tracks.

“There were other people on the platform starting to crowd around, because there were other people there waiting for their trains. People were making different comments, ‘This is crazy,’ people were psyched, some people were scared. I was actually really scared that a police officer or MTA worker was going to come up from behind because my back was turned to the whole crowd.”

I promised Allen not to reveal the whole story here, so you’ll just have to pick up 43 issue 003 to get the rest of it (spoiler alert: Koki lands it and nobody dies), and look for Colin Read’s upcoming video Tengu to see the footage. And remember kids, leave the subway hijinks to the professionals.

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