Words & Photos: Khaleeq Alfred
Not all things go as planned. For the past three years I’ve envisioned a particular photograph, yet I hadn’t quite found the time or the right skater to take on the task with me. The composition of the photo required a handrail and a mean shredder who’d be able to handle grinding on the rail. The backdrop would include the New York City skyline, which in itself is always a stunning element to a photograph. Due to the way NYC buildings compress against each other, it was necessary to be in New Jersey on the water front. This all begins by searched on Google maps and scouted out the perfect location. A place I’d envisioned years on, and seen over three years ago in Liberty State Park. On Friday the 9th of September ’16, I decided to finally go hunting for that beauty of a shot. Rung up the good homies Prince Lang, Rob Rodrigues, and Chris Collado to hit the spot along with some other locked down locations. The start of the trek required us boarding a ferry that dropped us off across the river in New Jersey. As the dreamed of spot approached and came into view disappointment crept up, unbeknownst to me three years later a fence now rested in from of my dream spot. Upon closer inspection, the spot was now a designated ferry stop to the Statue of Liberty. All around bummed, we turned around and made our way into this huge castle looking building. Which turns out to be a historic train station. It’s the train station which transported immigrants upon there arrival in New York to the United States. The historical significance of this location made me appreciate the area, an added to the reason this location would become the backdrop for the picture I’d capture and end up loving.
The session proceeded with Chris and Prince playing a game of SKATE. Naturally the quick board flips and the loud slamming of a defeated trick turned heads and grabbed people’s attention.
Although I’d managed to capture a photo with the city in the background, I wasn’t content. My attention quickly turned to the untouchable, fenced off, decaying but still beautiful railroad tracks. The way the sun shined through the ceiling gave off this glowing pattern on the station floor. The endless amounts of pillars with no human interaction in the background created an isolated moment between the skater and his environment.
I asked the gang if anyone was willing to hop the “easy” 7-8 foot fence to get the shot, no takers. After spending an hour or so playing S.K.A.T.E. and photographing, we decided to move to the next spot. I glanced at the highly wanted shot within the fenced off area and simply said, “Bruh, that photo would be beautiful”. Prince walked away and I sat down, two seconds later I hear “YO!” and it’s Prince running across the platforms to the desired spot. Two releases of the shutter and a priceless moment was captured. The relationship between the skater and his environment shall always make the difference.