New York, on the other hand, is not a ledge city.
It’s a metal curb city. It’s a garbage city. It’s a cellar door city. It’s an expensive city. It’s a party city. It’s a fashionable city. But it is not, by any means, a city where you will have an easy time finding a ledge to do even a foot-long tailslide on.
We may live in a city with the highest concentration of beautiful women, but the trade-off is that we are stuck with the ugliest ledges. Ledge skating in New York is the equivalent of constantly having to go home with a two. Sure, there are plenty of tens in the Financial District, except they’ll never lend you enough time to get to know them and make some moves.
The Seaport is a constant dramedy of the absurd — almost as if its creators are aware of our ledge desperation, and gain sadistic pleasure from toying with our emotions and crooked grinds. Ziegfeld is gone. Midtown is more of a bust than ever, with its most popular ledge only reaching a foot in height. Water Street hasn’t seen a glimmer of unknobbed marble in almost a decade. Even our favorite Sunday night refuge, which we rented many a ZipCar to drive the seventy miles to, got knobbed last year.
As we reach the coldest depths of winter, let’s forget skating’s fun aspects. You’ll miss skateboarding less when you are forced to remember that it could also be terrible. Ride Channel may have oversaturated the list game (we only run maybe 1.333 lists a year anyway), but this is important: here are the ten worst ledges in New York that are skated by humans with presumably functional brains.
Yesterday, the Ride Channel posted a guide to skateboard-related ## hashtags ## on Instagram, probably as some sort of distraction from the Great Follower Purge of 2014. Now, we weren’t as upset as some of our colleagues by Ride’s weeks-old assertion “that style matters more to east coast skaters because they aren’t as good” (it’s true duh), but this Instagram “guide” is a load of crap.
Who cares about Sequence Saturdays or Slappy Sundays? There is only one ## hashtag ## that matters on Instagram and it is #TFREPORT. Now, the ‘Report might have gotten diluted in recent years, as those who don’t live close enough to feel Tompkins’ magnetic draw still opt to tag their shoddy T.F. imitations with this precious label, but that hasn’t stopped its main function. Nowhere else is there such a one-stop overview for the most vibrant skateboard institution still in operation today.
What better day than today to post our annual T.F. Year in Review. As in past installments, contributors to the #tfreport thinktank cede any creative rights over their images once they are tagged. The T.F. is far bigger than picture credits. Have a good weekend. Seems like it will include some decent T.F. weather, at least for December.
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.