Legendary East Village Skate Shop
Autumn Skate Shop has been around for basically as long as people have been riding around New York City on boards with skates attached. It’s an institution and a landmark for the many, many skaters that frequent the store and nearby Tompkins Square. They even had their own indoor skating spot, the Autumn Bowl, for a short period of time Recently, we got to chat with longtime Autumn employee and skater Jeremy “Grandpa” Weiland about the difference between New York and Philly, the greatness of Tompkins, and the demise of the Autumn Bowl.
Tell us a little about the history behind Autumn.
Jeremy Weiland: David Mims started Autumn ten years ago—he’s the mastermind behind it. The first space was on 2nd Street between Avenue A and B. Eventually, about eight years ago, we moved up here to a way better location: 9th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. You can literally throw a stone from the shop and hit someone skating at Tompkins Square Park. There’s more foot traffic and the skaters in and out of the area. It’s a skate team of friends over here—you can ride for whoever and still be 100 percent down with Autumn. Whether we can give out stuff at the time or cannot, we are still always able to provide the skate community. Everybody rides for Autumn, straight up. Ten years is a long time to be in business for a skate shop that is not based on apparel or anything like that. Somehow we are able to survive on just skateboards. Whether they’re buying something or not—just as you see right now there are like 15 people here—skaters frequent Autumn.
How did you end up working at Autumn?
Well, I was in Philadelphia and hitting up the city for about ten years. I’m pretty picky when it comes to skating and like to be able to not worry about getting kicked out like it is back in Philly. I’m too old to be running from cops. Here you can just skate all day and do whatever. Even if you see a cop, they probably want to skate your board or something funny like that. Everyone here is welcoming.
What is the story of the infamous Autumn Bowl?
Basically a bunch of dudes wanted an indoor spot to skate. Dave ended up getting some funding, so he got in touch with his friends to come help build the bowl. The Autumn Bowl had a long run, but from what I have heard, when we threw the super gnarly Thrasher Skate Rock event at the same time some music video was being filmed, the landlord got pissed and turned the electric off the next day. Soon after, he wanted the skaters out and raised the rent a ridiculous amount, which was super harsh on us. We had to shut down the bowl, but it lives on in everyone’s memory.
You guys also provide a lot of the skating stuff to Tompkins, right?
Well at first when the shop was down on 2nd Street it was real hard to transport the skate obstacles to the park. TF Eric would chain up some rails at Tompkins and it was super hard to get grind boxes there from 2nd Street. Now that we are only 15 feet from the park, the grind box situation has really opened up a lot more. We have gone through so many boxes, ramps, and rails in the past. We always continue to build new ones and sometimes skate companies and people will hook us up with random obstacles to store in the shop.
That’s awesome. The TF is such a dope spot to skate.
Yeah, I love that place it has got to be my all time favorite place to skate in New York City. You have 12th and A up the block, but it didn’t exist when I first started skating around here. The vibe at spots like those differ from any normal skate park. Sometimes there are no ramps or anything, but it’s still super fun to skate and hang out at. You don’t have to worry about the skate park jock dude flying around the corner and showing you how good he is on the ramps. People at Tompkins can skate flat ground all day and have fun. It just goes to show how much people can do wrong when they design an ordinary skate park. Through skating the TF, I met everyone I know in New York. One thing let to another and I got my job here. I’ve been working here forever. I got lucky with this place, that’s for sure. All you have to do is walk into this place, no matter where you’re from and you instantly realize what Autumn really is, a skate shop.