It’s been two months since the East River Skate Shop reopened after the death of its owner, Rich Oates. Thanks to Oates’ good friend, Jad Magaziner, and his sister, Katie Oates, it will remain a living and breathing fixture in Greenpoint and the skating community at large.
Oates opened the shop with a vision to “create a community shop that was focused on family and the skate community,” says Katie, who now manages the operations side of the store. “He wanted it to be a positive environment for both newbies and the established skate community.”
Jad Magaziner, Oates’ long-time friend, says it was never even a question for him to pick up where Rich left off. As a lifelong skater, photographer, and global traveler, Jad recently settled in Brooklyn and was working with Rich on launching a management company for artists and skaters.
Along with managing the shop, Magaziner has plans in the works for building a memorial skate park, along with a communal green space to be used for people to work on various projects, including gardening and photography.
Walking into the shop, the positive vibes (a term often ascribed to Rich) are palpable and easily traced to Katie and Magaziner’s warm welcome. A group of “shop kids” has already formed, whom Magaziner seems to have taken under wing.
He and Katie are exploring ways to provide work opportunities that might include ‘work for gear’ possibilities. The shop will also host a gallery opening on April 23rd at 7 p.m., called “A Push Through the Past,” which will celebrate the history of New York City skateboarding through the work of local photographers and artists.
Magaziner’s heart for the skate community and his intention to preserve its roots are clear.
“To see kids try a trick and fail seventeen times…then they finally land it…that’s what it’s all about,” he says. “I’m usually the loudest one out there,” he says, referring to his shameless cheering at the skate park. “It should be about having fun.”