I love inadvertently stumbling across something that is completely blogalicious. 18 months ago, before I started this blog, I would have impatiently pushed past the throng of viewers in the middle of Times Square last Thursday and headed straight to my destination. Now, partially because I am constantly in need of new subject matter for this blog and partially because (thanks to it) I have a renewed thirst for the adventurous, I stop and check things out. Well, most of the time, anyway. As I walked toward my new theatre of employ (the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on 43rd), I ran straight into a looming wooden structure and equally-as-huge crowd. I stopped to check out the hubbub and was pleasantly entertained and thrilled for the next half hour.
Last Thursday afternoon, if you didn't know, was Air In The Square, a Mega-ramp ASA Triples Event. Don't know what that is? Yeah, I didn't either. So, I stopped and asked an official-looking man setting up barricades. Turns out, it's a BMX competition. In Times Square. For free. Mama like. I scooted toward the front of the group of folks, googled, and waited for the activities to commence. According to my trusty internet-capable phone, this series of ramps was 195 feet long and a scaled-down version of the ramp used in the X Games (and event I DID recognize). This course, though, had an extra ramp and two 15-feet jump gaps. Oh, and it was smooshed between 42nd and 43rd street on Broadway. Okay, I thought, this was getting more and more interesting by the minute.
Soon, the blasted punk/alternative music began to swell and guys on too-small-looking bikes whizzed down the large ramp and did an assortment of tricks in the air over our heads. It was, in a word, thrilling! They soared above our heads and I was terrified when I saw one of the first contestants wipe out, but the crowd around me didn't seem too concerned. I realized as I continued to watch that falling was a pretty normal occurrence and these guys pretty much knew how to take their spills injury-free. A particular biker did a fabulous-looking move and I leaned toward the guy next to me and asked what it was called. "A 360", he repiled. Okay. Well, it was appropriately named, anyway. I stayed for as long as I could, ooh'ed and aah'ed along with the crowd, and reluctantly turned toward work. I became aware that this was an experience most people would pay a lot of money for and here I was stumbling on it while heading to work. BMX pros warming up the pavement I walk every day. And this, folks, is one of the many reasons why I love New York.