Metropolitan 2.0 — An Interview With Keith Hufnagel

January 5th, 2017 | 9:00 am | Features & Interviews | 7 Comments

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Photo by Ari Marcopoulos

The internet has given plenty of pros, videos and companies — or at least an idealized version of them — a second life. Case in point: Metropolitan was a Deluxe-distributed wheel brand that ended in the mid-nineties. It began its second internet life on the pages of Police Informer, a defunct Blogspot page of largely east coast-centric magazine scans before Chromeball took the torch over in 2010. The company’s ads were black and white portraits of skateboarding in New York shot by Ari Marcopoulos, with a distinct non-skate photographer take on the traditional skate ad.

Since then, those iconic ads have been reblogged, regrammed and reposted in every place possible, oftentimes by people too young to have ever ridden a set of Metropolitan wheels. After seeing a few glimpses of Metropolitan gear that was a bit too clean to be vintage throughout the past year, we learned that Keith Hufnagel, one of the original teamriders for the brand, is relaunching it altogether.

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For those don’t know, what was Metropolitan?

Metropolitan was a wheel company. Deluxe was doing Spitfire in the early nineties, and they decided they wanted to have a brand that was more east coast driven. They realized they weren’t getting much traction on the east coast. It was Jim Thiebaud, Chris Pastras, and a few others who developed Metropolitan, which only featured east coast skaters. It was myself, Ryan Hickey, Maurice Key, and a bunch of other guys.

It was a cool but very short-lived company. Spitfire was doing well, Metropolitan was doing decent, and they had to make the decision on which to run with. Spitfire was the stronger brand, so they continued to go with it. We were all heartbroken because we all thought Metropolitan was the best brand ever. It was around for three or four years, but I’m not positive.

Was there any reason as to why Deluxe wanted to start a wheel company as opposed to a board brand?

I’m not sure. Deluxe has done a lot of off-shoots that were board companies. They did Stereo, they did Rasa Libre. Some stayed, some went away. I’m not sure why they didn’t approach Metropolitan as a board company, but maybe their plate was too full.

An Interview With Daniel Kim, the 2016 Q.S.S.O.T.Y.

January 4th, 2017 | 8:40 am | Features & Interviews | 8 Comments

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Intro and Interview by Zach Baker. Photography by Will-Robson Scott.

Will R.S: “I’ve never even thought to, let alone wanted to do a switch Japan Air.”
Daniel Kim: “You need to empty your mind, Will.”

Let’s talk about influence. Here, in this beautifully flawed American society that we live in, we delight in the idea that we’re all unique. Supported by our convictions that never on Earth has there ever been anyone like ourselves, we (as skateboarders especially) are quick to call out the bandwagoning of others; the adherence to trends that we ourselves, whether we recognize it or not, are also influenced by.

Whether it be “Yo, I ride 8.5 because everyone rides 8.5” or “Yo, everyone rides 8.5, y’all biters. I ride 7.5, I’m different and lit” — we are all borrowing from the same pool of small board brands, nostalgic IG handles, and tricks done in Trilogy. It’s tough to stand out, and perhaps the less a person cares about doing so, the better they are at it.

Turn to Daniel Kim who, within the past year, has gotten what some might call “weird.” Prior to now, he had built a reputation for banging flip tricks, remarkable pop, and thoughtful Pulaski lines. He was on 10 Deep back when German Nieves was the team manager, got boards from DGK for a while, and later worked at Nike for a couple years. Then, his hat started falling off, he grew his hair out, started wearing fur vests, and introduced to us his mysterious new undertaking: Stingwater.

Sparking endless laughter from many and bewilderment from many more, Kim, throughout 2016, threw up all kinds of cryptic promotion for what is maybe a water company, maybe a skate company, maybe just a platform for trolling his favorite skaters. What can be certain, as reinforced by his part in Spirit Quest, Colin Read’s trippy opus, is that Daniel, both as skater and individual, is evolving — no, groeing. I’m entertained by whatever the hell Stingwater is, and I’m still not sure that I even totally get it. Maybe my mind’s not empty enough.

Regardless, in our eyes, Daniel had done some of the most unique and remarkable skateboarding in 2016, earning him the title of Quartersnacks Skater of the Year.

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Some of the readers may be wondering: did you lose your mind?

Nah man, I just found it.

You worked at Nike for some time, and then in the past year or so, would you agree that you’ve had much more right-brained approach to skateboarding, than say, a few years ago?

I think I just got more psyched on skating. I saw that once you have a regular job, you can’t skate as much. So I started to appreciate skateboarding more. Once the Nike thing was over, I started skating a lot more, and I started realizing that i could just have fun with it.

The 2016 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 5-1

December 29th, 2016 | 1:15 am | Features & Interviews | 2 Comments

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Closing this one out :) Previously in 2016: 25-16, 15-6

Past Editions: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

5. The State of the T.F. Report [Sponsored by Soundcloud]

Those around for the post-9/11 flatbar years would find the modern T.F. virtually unrecognizable. Anyone with a functioning brain opts to meet at a skatepark rather than a place where they are forced to have an interaction with a paralegal holding a permit. This year, we were shocked to learn that while we may have a dedicated place to willingly cage ourselves into under the Manhattan Bridge, Soundcloud rappers are still looking for a home. In 2016, they found a nest at our onetime East Village meeting place, and have kept the (sometimes literal) fire of Tompkins debauchery lit in an era when we demand that our day consist of something more than skating a piece of plywood or a discarded Christmas tree.

The 2016 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 15-6

December 20th, 2016 | 1:36 pm | Features & Interviews | 2 Comments

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Keeping it moving with the new 10-10-5 format :) Previously in 2016: 25-16

Past Editions: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

15. Astor Renovation

Two years ago, we lost a zen-like intersection of flatground that intertwined with all vibrant walks of life — the greatest non-spot in this history of skateboarding. It was, however, replaced with actual skateable obstacles this year: decent-enough beveled benches, a gap that replicated BAM’s ledge-to-street gap, and a Flushing-width flatground gap that Jason Byoun switch Muska flipped. The spot’s original meditative qualities dissolved into cement fairy dust, but at least it’s something to skate for now, even if the overall aesthetic of the new Astor Place is “we ran out of money.”

The 2016 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 25-16

December 13th, 2016 | 3:32 am | Features & Interviews | 16 Comments

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Late start to the annual “Year in Review” series, but we weren’t about to let up on one of our favorite annual traditions in this occasionally great but more often awful year. We are going to condense the first installment into ten entries for the sake of time. One a week from here on out though :)

Past Editions: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

25. Pratt Degrees Get Put To Use

The 2016 reality of bust-free spots in the nation’s largest city is grim (e.g. they knobbed a bump in the ground this year, and people are literally interrupting their lives to argue about the placement of a trash can on the street.) And so, New York’s underemployed population of industrial design grads began to ransack the plastic horizontal beams off construction barriers city-wide, and stacking them to create some sort of pathetic poverty row parking block.