KCDC Skateshop: Brooklyn

KCDC opened their doors in 2001, led by owner Amy Gunther.
© Zander Taketomo/Red Bull Media House
By Chris Nieratko

KCDC is the longest running skateshop in all the five boros of New York and has arguably done more for the NYC skate scene since they opened their doors in 2001.

This November marks 12 years in business for owner Amy Gunther who has not only legitimized Brooklyn as the epicenter of NYC”s skate world, but also changed the perception of women’s roles in skateboarding in general. Amy has earned the respect of her scene and her industry in a way that very few ladies have been able to do in the long history of skating’s boy’s club.

She keeps true and honest to the punk rock/DIY credo that has allowed her to endure the ups and downs of the past 12 years and made KCDC our first choice when thinking of a shop to partner up with in New York.

Quick Q&A

The biggest DIY move you can make in skateboarding is opening your own shop. What made you want to do it?

I wanted to open a shop because I was interested in having a career in an industry that contributes to society instead of taking away from it. Having a skate shop is a platform for so many things besides just selling product.

KCDC is based on the idea that skateboarding is unique to everyone that does it. We didn't really have a long term plan at the beginning. We just wanted to provide skateboarders with the brands they wanted, to be able throw parties, art shows, have bands play and make things for people to skate.

Describe the scene in your area that you’re shop has helped cultivate.

KCDC has been refuge to all walks of life. We are close friends with those who have walked through our doors 12 years ago when we opened. We hope to keep giving to the community, because they have given so much to us.

When you think of DIY skate spots, what comes to mind? What are your favorite DIY spots of all time?

Making use of an abandoned or under-utilized area. Being a kid and making a ramp out of whatever you can get your hands on. DIY spots bring a sense of community to the spot. People respect it, put in work and skate. We like watching the Polar guys build, paint and skate. We also love anything that is built here in NYC.

Why are DIY spots so important to a scene?

As formerly stated, they bring a sense of community to a spot, and even a scene. When a new spot is built it sparks copycats, in a good way. More spots are built the way skateboarders want them, not how some park designer has envisioned it. You can be as creative or simple as you’d like.

What were some of the DIY spots your skate scene has had over the years, even as far back as when you were growing up?

For a big city, NYC has had a number of DIY spots. Unfortunately, not many have stood the test of time. Before Williamsburg was what it is today, skateboarders were some of the pioneer’s that helped make it a safe place to be.

Down on the waterfront, at what is now a land of high rises and a city park that does not allow skateboarding, skateboarders made the infamous volcano that overlooked the NYC skyline. We have had a few random, photogenic, interesting, but ephemeral constructions over the years as well. One that has lasted is the BQE. A stone’s throw from KCDC, and one of our favorites ever.

What are your thoughts on the recent resurgence of kids making their own spots all over the place? And why is it necessary, especially on the East Coast, when so many municipalities are making subpar parks.

This is great. Skateboarders are much smarter than they are supposed be. Maybe. Building your own spots is a rite of passage. In lieu of a corporate boom in skateboarding and parks popping up left and right all over the city kids are out there building for themselves more and more. Skateboarders can do it better and they are.

What is your take on the fact that for very cheap skaters can make a very good spot whereas townships spend ungodly amounts of money on awful parks?

I reckon that these townships have guidelines and safety regulations to adhere to. I’m sure a lot of thought goes into these parks but perhaps not enough consultation with the people who will occupy them.

I think it’s great that parks are being built, but it’s also great that skateboarders can do it for less. We are not wasteful people, and we are going to do whatever we want to do.

Tell us about the place you’ve chosen to refurbish for this Red Bull DIY contest? Who started it? When did it start? What was the location?

We chose the BQE spot right here in Williamsburg. I have a feeling that the people responsible for its conception would prefer to remain anonymous, although we do thank them if they ever get around to reading this.

Skateboarders from around the world visit the BQE. It’s a good spot to meet up at. It’s good in a light drizzle, and it’s (awfully) lit at nighttime. It’s been going strong for years now. There are still new things being added, but no sign of it getting any cleaner under there. We will clean it up a bit, and fix a few things for everyone to enjoy.

Who is your work crew that is helping on the refurbishing?

Our skate team will be doing the work and earning their stickers for the month with a little help from our friends around the neighborhood.

What does this Red Bull DIY contest mean to you and your scene?

This contest is a great way to show viewers how DIY works in NYC. It’s not easy but it’s still done all the time.

Describe your dream DIY spot, if you had endless resources, what would you build?

We’d build a double loop and invite the Birdman.

Do you want KCDC to win the DIY Spot Supply? Comment below:

DIY Spot Supply
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