Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Skate Hardcore: Photographs from Brooklyn’s Southside by Vincent Cianni

This popular and evocative collection of mostly black and white photographs documents the vibrant inline skating culture that was thriving in the south side of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood in the 1990s.  Part photo-journalism and part personal history, We Skate Hardcore weaves the author’s narrative together with photographs (often accompanied by handwritten descriptions by subjects) and interviews.  Southside Williamsburg in the nineties was a neighborhood suffering from high crime and poverty rates.  This book is an homage to these young skaters’ passion and determination to build (sometimes literally!) a better future for themselves.  Additionally, We Skate Hardcore is a window into New York City’s recent history and a very interesting form of memoir, which Social Studies and English teachers may find useful in the classroom.  While the collection is almost entirely school-appropriate, librarians may hope that a vandal takes a scissor to the corner of a page of grainy color photos about fourteen pages from the book’s end. --Regan Schwartz

Cianni, V.  We Skate Hardcore: Photographs from Brooklyn’s Southside.  New York: New York University Press, 2004.  Print.

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