Though far from a prominent spot this past decade-and-a-half, it is still worth noting that after five years of hearsay, the city finally closed off Astor Place and is turning it into “one of those” shitty parks e.g. what’s in front of the Flatiron Building.
Astor Place was the original New York non-spot. The city has a long history of turning absolutely nothing into a full skate spot, and it could be said to have started here. There were some trash cans and a metal curb here, just like there are trash cans and metal curbs on every other block in New York. Yet everyone risked tickets from cops and sideswipes from cabs to skate Astor because it had a zen-like quality. There was good flat, pretty girls walking by, no shortage of weirdos*, and a vibrance that you don’t catch from skating in a space enclosed from the actual street. People have to opt into Tompkins; Astor was in the middle of everything by default.
*(Re: Weirdos — For example, there was one night when a bunch of Starbucks employees got into a beef with a bunch of K Mart employees, so while his friend was in mid-arguement, one of the K-Mart employees runs around the block, down 8th Street, left on Broadway, and up Astor Place, to sucker punch the Starbucks employee. That same night, some goth kid climbed on top of the cube, fell off, and an ambulance showed up to cart him away.)
Photo by Mike Gigliotti
Filming at Astor in 1997 does not seem much different than filming at Tompkins in 2014. Those dudes had to be resourceful with rubbish found on the street here, and it didn’t hurt that they looked really cool simply doing 180s. After all, Hamilton Harris did one of the chillest lines in skateboarding history here. We compiled all the Astor clips from R.B. Umali’s two NY Revisted videos and threw them together on a timeline. Also, there’s a quick QS bonus reel at the end, but our time came after the glass condo, etc. went up, so that’s not worth romanticizing as much. The spot was on its way out by then and everyone just skated the front of Union instead :(
FYI: Paych DVDs available here.
…and Torey Pudwill hasn’t been in town, we checked his Instagram.
Let us reiterate: Three Up Three Down is not about being good at skateboarding.
Much like lower-and-middle income New Yorkers are being priced out of Manhattan, more able-bodied skateboarders are ousting us from plebeian Manhattan street spots. The rich are never content just having a little bit — they want it all. Dylan Reider was the trailblazer for legitimizing Three Up Three Down after years of professional skateboarder indifference, but his one-percenter cronies were soon to follow. This quite obviously included some would-be 2014 Danny Gonzales. Go back to Cali dude.
LEAVE OUR SPOTS ALONE! There are enough places to be good at skateboarding in New York City, but not nearly as many if you’re not particularly great at it. Just because the Courthouse Drop is unskateable, doesn’t mean you have to wax our beloved two-and-a-half stair. Three Up Three Down is where Mouse-era Ben Sanchez would film a part if he were teleported to New York in the 2010s, not where the Grizzly team should be poised to film half of their 2014 “Summer Trip to New York” clip.
With Southbank saved, it’s time we, as common folk, initiate a new campaign — C.A.P.S. (Commoners Against Professional Skateboarders.) Consult the video below and observe just how much chiller all those lines look than some stupid twenty-foot-long backside lipslide to tailslide.
What’s next, Bryan Hermans brings a picnic table to Virtual Reality Bump?
Photo via @2wavv on Instagram
Tompkins locals are no strangers to the evil of the Parks Department. For years, they’ve been stealing our boxes, taping off our benches, and sometimes, they’d try to sabotage the park’s longest standing obstacle, The Crack™. But in the true spirit of American infrastructure, these slapdash concrete fill-ins never lasted long. All they would do is render the park a pebble-ridden, wheelbite-inducing mess for a week. Mother nature’s gift to skateboarding by way of a tree root attempting to free itself from the ground was too strong for these fascist acts of aggression.
This week, they went for big one. The Crack™ is gone. It has been filled with an effective tarlike substance that renders the inch-wide cavity obsolete. New York skateboarding’s inner Ben Sanchez is struggling for air.
Sophomores and juniors may be familiar with our orientation guides to Tompkins Square Park. Given the fast-but-not-too-fast pace of T.F. culture, we have only seen it fit to update the guide bi-annually. With college back in session, you guys can take everything in the 2013 edition as up-to-date, save Example F about the crack. Disregard it entirely, lest you arrive to Tompkins and find yourself shocked that there is nothing to skate at New York’s most famous skate spot.
We will be organizing meet-ups with psychiatric health professionals at Mamani’s for those who may need counseling in this time of crisis.
View from the top of the spot here
The building started knobbing the entire southern ledge section at the World Trade ledges as of a few days ago. They haven’t completely ruined the ledge off the seven yet, except you’ll need to gap out a foot past the first two knobs if you want to get a last minute trick on it. It’s safe to assume they’ll knob the entire ledge sooner rather than later. The northern section with the manual pad and the small ledge over the tree gap is skateable, but who knows how long that’ll stay around for…
For a spot that came pre-knobbed when it opened up in the summer of 2006, it’s amazing the rest of the ledges here made it this far. It was probably the best spot in the Financial District area that you sorta kinda maybe occasionally had a chance of skating, especially with the metal Seaport ledges gone.
Here’s a fun session from when we were filming for the Christmas 2013 clip. We didn’t get kicked out from 3 P.M. onwards. It was amazing and unprecedented. Good times.
There’s also this dumb clip from summer 2007. 240p.
The second most important Blackberry photo in QS history. After this obvs.
Beyond being some of the most expensive property in an already laughably expensive city, the waterfront has been instrumental to the progression of technical, #lowimpact skateboarding in New York. The city has always been a decade behind California in terms of technical ability, but had it not been for the development of the Seaport, a flip-in trick might’ve forever been a myth to New Yorkers. Just think: did you ever truly see people doing reverts, nollie flip-ins n’ shit before someone thought to put angle iron on those wooden blocks? Not really, right?
With Seaport 5.0 being the frontrunner for 2014’s “Spot of the Summer” (in a lead comparable to Chris Brown’s for equally important “Song of the Summer” honors), we take a look at the five forms that Seaport has taken throughout these past twenty years. While reading this, please keep in mind that there is barely anything resembling a “normal, straight ledge” at any Manhattan skatepark.