Greenpoint Gazette

Leaving His Chef’s Hat Behind, a Greenpoint Resident is Now Kicking Up Some Dirt in the Neighborhood


Greenpoint has its own new skate shop.

East River Skate Shop opened on Greenpoint Avenue in May, with business off to a strong start according to its owner, Richard Oates.

The former Chef de Cuisine at tony New York City establishments, the Left Bank, in the West Village and Freeman’s Restaurant, on the Lower East Side, Oates along with his wife decided it was time for a change. The Greenpoint residents were done doing “the corporate thing,” as Oates succinctly put it. They wanted to do something they were passionate about and could call their own.

“We saw an opportunity, it seemed like a good one, and we decided to take a risk,” said Oates, about opening his own business. “A skateboard shop sort of embodies the qualities that we most identify with and embrace – one of street art and of the working artist.”

Oates came across the space while walking around the neighborhood. He hadn’t decided what business he was going to launch right off the bat, but when he saw the space he knew it was meant to be a skate shop.

He immediately hearkened back to his childhood. He first rode a skateboard when he was 8 years old. He lived in a cul-de-sac community where there wasn’t a lot of traffic and the streets were mostly one way. A lot of his childhood was spent riding bikes and skateboarding, and he knew a business dedicated to promoting that energy would be a good fit.

Greenpoint’s relaxed atmosphere helped make it all the reason to open the shop in the neighborhood. Oates says he is glad the neighborhood hasn’t quite taken on or embraced Williamsburg-like expansion, and he is confident it will hold it off.

For now, he says, the city could definitely do more about planning for the safety of skateboarders, especially along the city’s streets, but he is hopeful, with the addition of new skate parks on the Williamsburg waterfront and in Cooper Park.

East River Skate Shop, 86 Greenpoint Avenue, 12-8 p.m. daily except Monday when closed, for more information and to check out merchandise online visit

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Greenpoint Gazette
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