Skate Shop

Photo by Annie A. Khan

Queens Tribune [New York] Astoria This Week

Skate Shop A Break From Daily Grind

The board flipped several times in the air as the rider curved his body, one fist in the air, before stretching out again touching the board with the tip of his sneaker –a prize- winning “ledge jump.”

The victor at Sunday’s skateboarding competition, Ricardo Castenada from Brook- lyn, is the second rider to win a branded t- shirt, cap and a sponsorship by the only skateboard shop in Astoria.

The skate shop Belief opened its doors this fall and has already organized two com- petitions, just in time to catch the rising wave of skateboarding culture in Queens, boosted by the new Astoria Skate Park.

Twin brothers Raffie and Philip Gordon own the store along with their school friend Jimmy Collins. Located at 29-20B 23rd Ave., the shop was Collins’ idea after he moved to Astoria three years ago.

“We had money saved up and both sides of our family helped out. Our mother’s friend just loved the idea and wanted to get in- volved,” said Raffie Gordon, eating pizza and high-fiving friends who had come to the store after the event to congratulate the team.

Rows of baseball caps and skateboards line the walls. The store sells popular skate- boarding gear and safety equipment, as well as its own brand of boards. Plans are under- way by the brothers to launch their own clothing line soon.

Skateboarding was the twins’ first love. They have been riding since the fifth grade. “They would make little fingerboards and practice when they were supposed to be

doing their homework,” said Andrea Gor- don, the twins’ mother, who is a psycho- therapist.

Over time the twins learned to balance both studies and their boards. The brothers graduated from Roger Williams School, one with a major in public relations and the other in graphic design. The skills helped the twins launch their own business.

The City Parks Dept. did not sponsor Sunday’s competition, but the park fully supports such activities and will hold more skateboarding events in the future.

”We welcome groups like the Belief skate shop to host skateboarding events at Astoria Park,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. ”Skateboarding is extremely popular in the city and it is esti- mated that there are thousands of people who skateboard regularly.”

This Sunday alone more than 100 skate- boarders came from across the five boroughs to attend the competition. Anyone with a board is welcome to sign up, and more than 30 riders registered to compete. Some of the riders traveled from outside of New York to attend.

Jose Pereyra, the twins’ friend from sev- enth grade and a pro skateboarder, came from California to watch the competitors in action.

“It’s not as big as it is in California, but it is certainly growing,” said Pereyra. “I de- cided to move to Long Beach, Calif. because one of my sponsors is based out of there.”

The sport is becoming popular among women and girls as well. Some of the regular customers at the Belief store are female riders.

“They haven’t been competing but they come and skate or come to the shop to buy merchandise,” said Collins.

A regular board at the store can cost any- where from $40 to $50 compared with $60 or more in Manhattan, for the same. Collins admits the sport can be expensive but their prices are competitive so the kids can afford it.

Geri Lacaj 17, who attends Francis Lewis High School and is a regular at the Astoria Skate Park agrees.

“I needed to go to Manhattan to buy my skate boarding gear, now the Astoria skate scene is bigger.”

—Annie A. Khan

Page 10 Tribune Dec. 9-15, 2010 •