Many years ago, my father attended a Yankees game at the former Yankees Stadium and parked on nearby 161st Street, where he noticed something very out of the ordinary for 1989 -- a park full of BMXers riding ramps. After returning home, he told me about the park, and let me know that he would be into taking me back there if he could time it right to go see another Yankees game. I studied up on events at the park, and discovered that the park was having a contest that summer. My dad bought tickets for that day's Yankees game, while I went to the contest. It was my first introduction to the huge scene that was developing in New York City. And it was attracting big names pros such as Dennis McCoy.
That park, dubbed Mullaly, was one of if not the first, BMX-devoted skateparks in the New York City area. Mullaly came together through the work of several seminal BMXers in the Bronx area. Throughout the '90s, when BMX was barely a blip on anyone's radar, Mullaly was hosting their own series, attracting record numbers and actively growing the scene in and around New York City.
They also did things their own way. (I remember one contest at Mullaly that also hosted the New York hardcore band Sick of it All on top of organized wrestling matches.)
Sometime in the summer of 1995, I returned to Mullaly to ride with the locals on a non-contest day. While leaving, I was struck from behind on the head with some sort of pipe, and after being knocked out for a few minutes, I awoke to find my bike gone and a crowd of people around me laughing. The next week, I returned to the park and noticed that the parts from my stolen bike were now divided up between several different rider's bikes inside the park.
One of them approached me and said that if I wanted my bike back, I would have to fight each person who was now in possession of the parts from my stolen bike. I turned around and left the park. I had lost respect for that crew of riders, and I learned the hard way to always watch my back, but I never let it affect the way in which I felt about Mullaly's influence on BMX.
Which is mighty. Mullaly hosted contests from 2hip and gave rise to the King of New York series. Brands such as Base Brooklyn and Step Design emerged in part from the Mullaly scene. The park was featured in Freestylin', Go: The Rider's Manual and eventually in the Freestylin' book Generation F. And riders such as Glenn PP Milligan first learned to pick up a camera and document the scene at Mullally, later developing into one of BMX's premier videographers.
Now, over twenty years later, Mullally remains one of New York City's dedicated BMX parks. It's seen better days, and passed from crew to crew, but it has maintained as a breeding ground for local BMX talent. Recently, Animal Bikes and Base Brooklyn decided that Mullaly could benefit from a jam (along with some new ramps), and plans were made for the "Get It Together" jam, documented in the above video.
The new Mullaly scene now features new ramps, new faces and a revitalized spirit. I know my story isn't the best example I could take away from the park, but I ultimately got a new bike out of the deal, returned to Mullaly, and ended up with clips in one of the first New York City based BMX videos of the time (thanks Glenn). I guess I could say that Mullaly has always been a bit of a rough place, but perhaps that's why it has managed to survive for over twenty years as an influential aspect of New York City BMX history.