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Police Curtail Broadway Skateboard Race Forbidden By Court Order

Broadway Bomb

Police largely curtailed the Broadway Bomb skateboard race Saturday. (Credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of skateboarders showed up Saturday with the intention of rolling eight miles down Broadway without a permit, but police stopped any such thing from happening.

As 1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels and WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, about 100 police officers gathered as the flash mob formed for the Broadway Bomb race at 116th Street and Broadway, outside the gates to the Columbia University campus.

1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels reports

Police also shut down Broadway for the skateboarders, who planned to roll all the way south to Bowling Green despite a court order forbidding them from doing so.

But the hundreds of officers who showed up were quickly curtailed by police, with whom they had a brief standoff.

“It’s a shame that they’re blocking skateboarding,” one participant said.

Officers stretched out an orange net across Broadway, and electronic LED signs threatened arrest to anyone who defied the court order and participated in the race.

Jamie was part of the flash mob, but thought twice.

“Not on Broadway,” Jamie said. “Not getting arrested.”

Another participant, Chris, pooh-poohed the city’s claims of danger.

We’re all safe; I mean, I haven’t heard about anyone getting hurt before, so I don’t see why they’re worried about it now, you know what I mean?” he said. “The more people there are, the roads get shut down, the safer it is.”

The race had been scheduled to begin at noon, but the skateboarders were herded farther west and away from Broadway, where they dissipated. There was no race, and no arrests were reported.

But some participants suggested that they wouldn’t have minded being arrested.

“Even if I get arrested, what am I going to have – a record that I got arrested for skateboarding one day?” another participant said.

On Fridays, the New York State Supreme Court granted the city’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Broadway Bomb from continuing without a permit.

EXTRA: Read The Court Order (pdf)

A message posted Friday on the Broadway Bomb Facebook page said the race had been canceled and the event’s organizer, 43-year-old Ian Nichols, had relinquished all responsibility.

“We are going to flash mob 116th Street and Broadway at 11:50AM and Start the Race at 12:00PM exactly,” the Facebook message continued.

Nichols said he was not promoting the possible flash mob, but wouldn’t be surprised if participants went through with it.

“A lot of people came here from around the world and expected to race and it was such short notice that they may go ahead and try to do something,” Nichols said.

The event has been held since 2002.

In past events, the city claims Broadway Bomb neither sought nor was granted a parade permit, which is required by law.

The city claims the riders have engaged in reckless and dangerous behavior including failing to stop for red lights, and cutting off and weaving through traffic and people.

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