#TBT: The King of the Grate

July 23rd, 2015 | 5:09 am | Time Capsule | 13 Comments

bart

Nearly every time a particular trick on a particular spot is mentioned on a particular website, the responses are the same: “My boy from Wisconsin already did that.” “Didn’t some guy on Habitat Australia do that in a Slam four years ago?” “That Canadian with the guages and the DCs did it switch.” “Greg Lutzka frontside flipped into that.”

We live in a time when some guy lipsliding up Black Hubba is forgotten during a cursory nerd-out conversation regarding all the tricks that have been done there.

The year was 2006 and we were not yet twelve months into our now decade-long existence as an accredited skateboard fashion house. YouTube was a year-and-a-half old. Myspace was more popular than Facebook. Bronze was still Flipmode, and their star players were Billy Lynch and Derrick Z. That summer, they released what was then the pinnacle of little kid New York City skate videos, Flipmode 3. One of its standouts was a switch flip backside tailslide over the Flushing grate by James Reres.

Some Long Islanders can keep a buzz with a push, an ollie, a 5-0 grind. Most cannot.

If at least 20% of the numbers in your phone don’t begin with a 516, it is likely you may not know who James Reres is. Around the time of said Flipmode 3 trick, he rattled off a barrage of tricks over Flushing, with a ferocity not seen in city limits since Zered on the old Grace ledge. Individuals qualified to give proverbial Golden “Globes” crowned him “King of the Grate,” a title that still stands today. It didn’t matter if someone did one of those tricks down the line — they’d have to do all of them and probably some new ones to make a further impact on the spot.

It was right then and there that we knew ABDs would soon be useless. A guy unknown to most not living within a sixty-mile radius of Long Island had singlehandedly set the bar higher than anyone would be able to reach it for almost a decade to come. Our ABD statistician — a fresh-faced Princeton economics graduate tasked with populating spreadsheets with every trick done at the city’s spots — was out of a job.

Some kid on Supra flow is warming up at Santa Monica Courthouse with a switch flip back tail as you read this. Any nerd with Chickenbone wax and some patience could probably do The King’s tricks now. Except unless he has a time machine back to when miraculous skateboard achievements had a lifespan of more than 24 hours, worrying about whether someone did a better trick in 2015 is like hoping the sun won’t set. Thank you to James Reres for so unfairly tipping the scales at New York’s longest-standing marquee skate spot in his favor. Our office hasn’t cared about ABDs since.

‘I Quit Skating After This’ – The Infamous Tour

June 24th, 2015 | 2:10 pm | Time Capsule | 2 Comments

infms tour

In the late 1990s, a New York-based company called Infamous Skateboards started up. The first wave of the team consisted of 4 pros and 6 AMs. There was a tour that soon followed, which was cut really short after two dates. Within that little time, half of the team was kicked off. Oh yeah, there was a beer sponsor too.

Fresh off Puleo talking about the demise of Infamous Skateboards in his most normal sounding recent-ish interview (15:25 mark), Howie Glover uploaded the Infamous 1999(?) tour segment from his Pre2k video. Infamous was a brief pitstop for much of the team — Puleo, Nikhil Thayer, Andy Bautista, Jahmal all went on to other board sponsors — but the other half of the roster is a list what-ever-happen-to’s that you may remember from Slap New York features or a montage in Heads.

After watching a video of their tour that apparently ended in 48 hours, it’s not tough to understand why whoever was responsible for the nuts and bolts of keeping the company afloat may have deemed it not worthy of floatation. Mobb Deep hasn’t made a good album since 1999 anyway ;)

Related: The INFMS Video

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An Ode to the Chris Cole Who Wore Yellow T-Shirts

May 21st, 2015 | 1:52 pm | Time Capsule | 21 Comments

chris cole yellow tee

I’ve been to two Street Leagues in my life. Between the mush of free alcohol and conversations with #industry #friendz who you otherwise only see at such events, memories of tricks at those contests are foggy. Except one.

Chris Cole needed some high score to avoid elimination (pretty sure that’s what was going on…), and there weren’t a lot of tricks available that would yield a score high enough, especially with one try at his disposal. The dude rolled up to a handrail frontside, did an alley-oop frontside 270 over it (he’s not rolling backside so nobody say it’s a 270 lip), and front boards down it. No test run, no warm-up. Just threw his board down and did it. Needless to say, he got whatever score he needed.

Other than that, I can’t remember a single Chris Cole part since he got on Zero. Not “hating” at all — the dude is probably one of the top five skateboarders working today if you’re using raw talent as your metric. Either Cole or Mariano are the first names that pop up to answer the question “Has anyone ever done..?” His skating just never crossed that 1% threshold of relate-ability required for repeat viewings of a part for an adult sk8r boy. It’s on another planet.

Incentive Zoning

March 25th, 2015 | 5:02 am | Time Capsule | 7 Comments

breezy

The Ocean Howell interview linked in Monday’s post reminded me of this bit from 2009’s Deathbowl to Downtown documentary — which apparently is $65 for a DVD copy on Amazon now and unavailable to stream anywhere?

Update: Stream it on Vimeo for two bucks.

Both the Howell interview and this bit discuss how cities will give developers a zoning pass / tax breaks on additional floors if they furnish the ground level of their property with a public plaza. The irony is that the plazas are often restricted to people who want to sit and eat lunch, i.e. a rather limited idea of what the “public” is. Nearly every piece of our European coverage has whined about how this is inconsistent with any Euro city we’ve visited, so I’ll spare you the recurring “America sucks for skateboarding” speech. There’s a lot of good early nineties Financial District and midtown footage in this segment, and by the looks of it, they were still busts then ;)

People gave Deathbowl a bit of a hard time when it came out — “the narration was heavy handed,” “the 90s were too focused on Zoo York,” etc. — but skateboarders will dig anywhere to complain. When I got the DVD in 2010, I was a month into nursing probably the closest you could sprain an ankle without needing medical attention. I finished watching it at maybe 2 A.M (on a school night!), yet still got the urge to grab a cruiser, and skate over the 59th Street Bridge to go up and down little hills on the westside til the sun started to come up. Can’t say a proper skate video has relayed that unshakeable “I really need to go skate”-feeling the same way since.

It was fun rewatching it to find this clip, you should give it a whirl.

The Best Thing About 2015 Is This B-Roll From 2004

February 24th, 2015 | 5:57 am | Time Capsule | 12 Comments

jb-500x367

We don’t make a point of running standalone posts about Thrasher videos, because chances are, you check Thrasher way before you end up on Quartersnacks navigating between the rap mixtape links for skateboard content. However, after posting J.B’s Freedom Fries part yesterday for no more reason than its status as once-a-week lunch hour viewing at the QS office, Thrasher uploaded all of French Fred’s raw footage from the creation of said part later in the day.

In the Jerry Hsu “Five Favorite Parts” piece that ran last week, he actually picked ten, and the post ended up consisting of the five he talked about the most. One of the more abbreviated stops was Gino’s Trilogy part, and how he didn’t necessarily need anything more than a handful of really solid tricks to make a substantial impact a la “less is more.” J.B’s parts have also seldom clocked in above two-minutes, yet always been memorable (remember how the feeble alley-oop 180 was the most talked about trick from Bon Voyage two years ago?) His 2:30 ender in Freedom Fries came at a time when “last part” meant a two-song emotional rollercoaster*. Watch Fred’s raw footage below; it’s obvious they could’ve tacked another 30-45 seconds onto it and didn’t. Everything in the part belongs and works. It’s perfect.

Great six-minute skate parts are as rare as great six-minute rap songs. They do exist, but there’s a reason most of the classics know not to risk overstaying their welcome.

*No disrespect to Arto, Zered or Jerry Hsu’s two-song tour de forces from the 2000s ;)

Watch it with “The Mexican” playing in the background for maximum effect.

Previously: All Hail Jean-Baptiste