Saturday, February 10th, 2007...1:42 pm

Rail Jam in NYC

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I was still at work around 8pm on Thursday night when my old crew from CSTV started texting me to meet up with them in Union Square. It’s always good to catch up with them plus they usually know about gangster style advertising sales parties. So I made the ten block trek down to Union Square in the bitter cold to see what was up.

When I got to Union Square I couldn’t believe my freezing cold eyes. The north outer edge of the park had been turned into a snow-covered urban rail jam. For those who aren’t into action sports, this basically means that there was an artificial snow-packed snowboarding ramp with rails. 32 professional riders competed in a professional snowboarding rail jam event. For a second I felt like I was back in Torino at the Snowboarding venue in Bardonecchia.

Here is a photo I took with my Blackberry Pearl. I only took one because I forgot I can show them off on this blog. Check out the NY Times article about the event.

Union Square Rail Jam

The scene was great. Despite the bitter cold the crowd was lively and vibrant. Music was blasting and there was a sponsors’ village with booths for merchants and sponsors. Reps were throwing goodies into the crowd. I stood in the VIP section thanks to my old boss who used to be a hot shot in the action sports world. I spoke with some of the people who helped create the event and they said it took two years to plan. They did an amazing job. The city didn’t have to close off any streets or disrupt the natural flow of the city but it was still a spectacle with tons of street traffic checking out the event. I also had an interesting conversation with a sponsor about how they should stream an event like this live on the internet to attract users to the site, create a new sponsorship opportunity, and because it would be cool.

Afterwords, we went to the after party at Dirty Disco. It was a private thing with an open bar until midnight. An open bar in Manhattan is like finding gold. Even if you are not in the mood to drink you kind of have to imbibe a few substances just because it is free. The snowboarding vibe is always great – cool gear, great music (old school hip hop was being played all night) and free drinks. It was a completely different place than it usually is on the weekends when it’s the trendy hotspot of the month for the sheep that follow each other around.

All in all, the night was great and certainly unexpected. I didn’t spend a dollar all night – which is a minor miracle when going out in NYC. The crazy thing is that I had no clue this was going on in the neighborhood. If I had known about it I would have definitely made plans to go. I’ve developed into somewhat of an action sports fan over the last few years. That is NYC though, so much cool stuff going on everyday but it seems like I’m always too busy or preoccupied to enjoy it.