In tune with the QS tradition of taking off to Europe for the first weeks of June, office related tasks have been taking place in Italy for the past half week. The first day brought us to Pisa, from where we drove 45 minutes to the Pietrasanta Skate Plaza, a skatepark where every obstacle is made out of the world’s best marble.
The marble mined in the Apennine Mountains along the Tuscan coast of Italy is the marble they used for The Pantheon, Michelangelo’s David, and what your favorite rapper’s floors are provided that he’s not a liar (i.e. they’re probably from Home Depot.) The city of Pietrasanta, located at the bottom of the Apuan Alps, is half covered with marble studios, each of which have several acres of gated land displaying gigantic cubes of potential ledges.
Pietrasanta is a town of just over 20,000 people, so we’re talking like a regular day at Tompkins when there’s a box. In 2012, they had a measly 50,000 Euros (~$55,000) to build a skatepark, except instead of constructing the 11th worst park ever built, they came up with a creative solution. Through cooperation with the local government and the main staple of the local economy, Marco Morigi, a beacon of hope for forward-thinking skatepark designers, mulled through the marble yards in Pietrasanta, collecting donatable scraps of rock that could yield skateable obstacles. The 50,000 Euros would then only be spent on pouring the concrete for the floor, and for foundations under the marble.
Photo by Mike Blabac
As a coincidental addendum to the “Life on Video” series that has been going on all week, here’s a quick rundown of what gets one of the greatest champions of classic plaza-based street skating hyped. Stoked he included a certain two-song part from a personal favorite in there ;) Have a good weekend everybody.
Skateboarding thrives on the meet-up spot and the skate spot. The skate spot requires an obstacle; the meet-up spot does not. And yes, the skate spot can double as both.
But what about the in-between spot — the proverbial comma of the session? It’s the place where you grab a bite, sneak a beer, talk shit, look at girls, kick your board around, and hopefully,
summon the willpower to move on from ignore a “party on so-and-so’s roof”-text to continue skating. Astor Place was a one-time comma between downtown and midtown, but got phased out of popularity by the late nineties.
Even back when New York had actual low-bust plaza spots, Houston Park was unavoidable. In today’s current mode of cruising the Lower East Side until you hopefully maybe could find a propped up roadplate, it’s still unavoidable. Houston Park has metamorphosed with every cultural shift in New York skateboarding. What was once a B-list pitstop in the gilded age of unknobbed marble became a vibrant hub in this era of skating garbage and walls. We felt it only right to honor how far it had come.
Photo by Jonathan Mehring
You’d think that by targeting someone in a younger demographic for one of these — Sean’s is probably the youngest person to do one — we’d steer selections away from the more recurring choices. Then you realize there’s a reason certain things are classics, yaknow? There’s always gonna be some thirteen-year-old who is just discovering the Rolling Stones, just as Gino’s nollie back heel off the three is never not going to be #relevant to anybody who enjoys the act of skateboarding ;)
Skateboarders are nostalgic, and it’s hard to think of something as endlessly mourned since its demise as Big Brother. There have been tribute Instagram accounts, promises of the entire archive’s digitization, four-figure eBay listings of the full collection, and Dave Carnie even published a 700-page book of his writing from it.
Shit, released by DC Shoes, is a 224-page hardcover book that chronicles the 1992-2004 run of Big Brother magazine, and costs about $950 less than buying every issue at online auction. Sparing intros and an epilogue where eight principal editorial members reflect on their time at the magazine, the book consists of two-page spreads for every one of Big Brother‘s 106 issues. Each spread has the cover, the issue’s quotes section, and a scrapbook collage with highlights. Alongside the covers are behind-the-scenes stories from Sean Cliver and Dave Carnie, who split the blurb duties 53 / 53. It is remarkable how much information they retain from every issue’s creation. The full history of the publication plays out over the course of the book, and in many ways, coincides with the grander story of skateboarding’s resurgence into popularity throughout the nineties.