NYC skateboarding legend Andy Kessler has died.


Glen E. Friedman, a photographer who chronicled the birth of skate culture, shares sad news:

If skateboarding was a town, this guy was its mayor. Andy Kessler, one of the good ones, died yesterday apparently of an allergic reaction from a wasp sting that led to a heart attack. This was a great dude, NO ONE could say anything wrong about this dude.

He was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, skater in New York City, holding it down, real since the 70's. Andy will be seriously missed by many including myself. Obituaries and discussion threads: ESPN, bulldogskates, newyorksurf, bulldogskates 2.

Above, a portrait of Kessler around 1976 or 1977 which Glen says was among the skater's favorite. If you know the name of the photog, please share in the comments and I'll amend the post. Photo credit, via a commenter in this thread: "KESS cuttin' it off the lip at the 9' marker, the Deathbowl in Riverdale, 1978. (Photo by Marc André Edmonds)"

Another striking portrait, skating the streets of Manhattan, here.

After the jump: a 2007 video interview. Kessler immediately strikes you as a gentle, thoughtful person -- who could shred like nobody.


  1. This really breaks my heart. Andy was one of those people who managed to be nice to everyone without being insincere. That’s such a rare quality. I don’t think there is a person in NYC that ever picked up a skateboard or rode a BMX who doesn’t have a cool story involving him. Even during the whole gangster, “Kids” era of NYC skating, Andy still managed to be a chill guy when everyone else was becoming a thug.

    This is a loss we’ll be feeling for a long time.

  2. Yeah, just had dinner with him and a bunch of friends on Friday night, I can’t believe he’s gone. One of the nicest guys I ever met.


  3. stunned by the loss of an old and true friend. had plans to see each other this saturday.

    kess’ closest friend posted the photo with the the credit:

    KESS cuttin’ it off the lip at the 9′ marker, the Deathbowl in Riverdale, 1978. (Photo by Marc André Edmonds)

  4. super sad. another good one gone. i didn’t know him personally, but he came across as such a sweet, humble, and good-hearted person. tragic loss for his family, friends and the youth. they need all the good role-models they can get.

  5. The photographer, Marc Andre’ Edmonds, for those that don’t know, was Ali of 1970’s graffiti fame, and later J. Walter Negro of J. Walter Negro and the Loose Joints

  6. I have not lived in NYC for quite some time, but iin the late 90’s Andy became a familiar face to me at Riverside Skatepark. I learned a lot about skating tranny thanks to him shredding that place in between him making sure my helmet was around. Dude was rad. This is a huge shame. RIP my friend.


  7. my thoughts and prayers are with andy’s many friends and family. i was lucky enough to hang with him a few times in nYc and puerto rico. he was awesome!

  8. I knew this dude when I lived in Manhattan on the lower east side in 1987.. he skated Thompson Sq Park where I used to hang out… how bizzarre. He really was a true guy. Thanks Xeni! d.

  9. i will miss kessler… he use to call and ask me what new painting i was working on. He loved art and supported it.
    peace brother.

    tony SUB

  10. I can’t say enough about my man Kessler, except I’m gonna miss him so much… This is what they mean by when something “SUCKS”

    I’ll miss you Andy…


  11. I love you Andy rip see you at the funeral thanks to everyone for the best support anyone could ask for

  12. Memories of the Band Shell man. Such punks we were ;) and what a man you turned out to be! An alchemist. I will truely miss you.

  13. WOW! I can’t believe it! I have known Andy for many years. I remember the Heroin days as well. I remember attending NA meetings with him and NA groups at his place on 72st. I’m sadened that it only took a bee sting to end his life….he will always be a legend.

    Dave from the Upper West Side (97st).


  14. I just found this page and I am shocked to hear the news…though its late.. I met Andy in Mexico- My sister and I stayed in a cabin near where he was staying. We hung out lots over the few days we were there and I will always remember him. He made our trip. He laughed at us trying to surf, shared stories and was just one of the most cool and down to earth people I have ever met. RIP

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