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 that 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.
There has never been a Quartersnacks video, and there likely never will be. There were the two “Best of” Can’t Ban videos from 2006 and 2008, but those featured all recycled footage. The closest thing to featuring the entire crew in an all-encompassing project was Alexander Mosley’s Watermelon Video from 2006. Considering most of the people involved with it have misplaced their DVD copies, and if you weren’t around Autumn, Supreme or 2nd Nature in 2006, you probably never saw it, Alex finally let us upload it online. He also made commemorative decks and tees for the video’s web premiere, and is selling them over on his website, Watermelonism.com.
The video was filmed roughly from the fall of 2005 until the end of the summer in 2006. It premiered in August 2006 by being projected on the tennis court wall in back of the L.E.S. Park when it was still a pre-fab wasteland. The video features parts from Ben Nazario, Ty Lyons, Andre Page, Mike Gigliotti, Matthew Mooney, Isak Buan and Alexander Mosley, plus a twenty-minute B-roll after the main video. If you need any further indicators of the time period, look no further than the background of the first few Lenox Ledges lines, or Chris Pierre Jacques‘ A.K.A. then Lil’ Chris’ height in his footage. Filmed and edited by Alexander Mosley.
Go grab a tee and board over on Alex’s website once you’re done with the video.
There’s also the sequel from 2008, Dos Sandias, which I’m sure will make its way online eventually :)
After yesterday’s #controversial post, it felt necessary to quell the tension and focus on the waterfront utopia that existed on the opposite side of Manhattan island, some fifteen years ago.
Jim Hodgson was generous enough to lend us all the Newport footage from his In Absentia series for this QS remix. Out of all the romanticism that surrounds east coast skateboarding, the Love Park / City Hall / Photosynthesis era carries the most weight. These wooden blocks on the East River waterfront were New York’s concurrent answer to what was going on 100 miles south on I-95 at that time. The baggy carpenter jeans, bulky shoes (be on the lookout for D3s), steadyshot turned off, and above all, the first-ever sight of advanced technical skateboarding within New York City limits remain points of nostalgia for all late-nineties / early-2000s skate nerds. Consider it the video companion to July’s “History of Skateable Seaport” post.
Also, let this stand as a prime example of how easy-to-solve the issue of skateable space in New York is: A few wooden blocks with metal affixed to them, and we’re still talking about it a decade-and-a-half later. It’s not that hard. You don’t need California Skateparks to figure that one out.
Features Bobby Puleo, Albie, Mike Wright, German Nieves, Andy Bautista, Rodney Torres, Brian Wenning, Anthony Pappalardo. Filming by Jim Hodgson.
P.S. While on the topic of 90s-themed QS remixes: This past summer, a prominent Danish skateboarder told me that his “favorite video part” was the Quim Cardona QS remix. He was probably just trying to be nice, because, like, why wouldn’t the Non Fiction part be your favorite if you’re going that route? — but in any event, I always felt bad about the aspect ratio being f’ed up in that clip, so we fixed for 4:3 viewing over on Vimeo. For that guy, and all others. Have a good weekend.
Filed Under: Time Capsule
, Video Re-Edits
| Tags: Albie
, Andy Bautista
, Anthony Pappalardo
, Bobby Puleo
, Brian Wenning
, German Nieves
, In Absentia
, Jim Hodgson
, Mike Wright
, Quartersnacks Re-Edits
, Rodney Torres
If you follow NY Skateboarding, you have no doubt caught onto In Absentia, a late-nineties, early-2000s B-roll video from filmer Jim Hodgson. A bunch of the footage is semi-recognizable from sessions that yielded tricks in Photosynthesis (+ the QS-favorite Pops/Wenning commercial), Logic, and the first two issues of Zoo York’s EST video magazine. The most widely circulated editions are Tim O’Connor and Anthony Pappalardo’s sections. Today’s post of Bobby Puleo skating in a chain and doing switch frontside heelflips is sure to get passed around a bit as well. There are still five videos in the playlist locked on private, and based on the BGPs in other editions, you’d think at least Wenning and Andy Bautista sections are on the way.
BUT, we’re not here to talk about those guys. Today is Andre Page’s birthday. In Absentia has a lesser-seen Andre Page section.
The past few interviews on QS have coincidentally taken a “no excuses” theme. Not to put him completely on blast, but Dre is really pushing 40 today. A lot of the names popping up in this video are way from the past; you haven’t heard about many of these dudes skating in years. Dre, on the other hand, hit me up to meet at T.F. after work today. He then told me he took tomorrow off…so that he could skate. Next question: “What are you doing this weekend? I’m trying to have a pizza party at Tompkins.” If you have two functional legs, there really are no excuses. Unless you spent yesterday skating D7 (you idiot), there really is no “I’m too sore” in your twenties. Break out the foam roller. Someone ~double your age is out here trying to front shove a bump-to-bar.
Happy birthday Dre. Loving father to dozens of lost skateboarders, humanitarian, eccentric entrepreneur, and practitioner of one of the highest ollies in New York City…at damn near 40.
“I have probably spent a million dollars on skateboarders in my life.” — Andre Page
There are a lot of good sections in In Absentia, but we are going to keep it Jersey-centric for the bonus inclusions:
There are occasions when you see certain pros skate in real life, and immediately reevaluate any under-appreciation you may have built towards their skating through videos. There are other times when you see a spot that the said pro has skated, and do the same. Seeing Penny push around doing kickflips in real life is probably amazing, but having never seen that, visiting the Copenhagen Wonderland Bowl that he skates in nearly all of his footage might have been enough.
Despite everyone insisting that “Yes, that is the same extension he 360 flipped in the éS ad,” you’d still be reluctant to believe it after seeing it. That thing is a wall.
It’s funny how the phrase “You’ll understand when you’re older” also applies to skate videos. Menik Mati was the biggest blockbuster video of its time, and maybe the first $30+ skate video. (Blades was the only place well-stocked with copies that winter, and pretty sure they were ~$35 after tax. It was absurd.) Kids were hyped on literally everything except Penny’s part, which for many of us, was the first time we were seeing him skate: “Who is this dude that everyone kept talking about? He can only do five tricks and didn’t even film a new part.”
Now, with over a decade of hindsight, Menik Mati aged worse than many of its contemporaries. Sight Unseen, Yeah Right and Chomp are all classics, but the éS video looks like a playbook of overwrought 2000s blockbuster video indulgences. (Except jump cutting, got to give it credit for avoiding that.) Arto would one up himself a year later with the best part of his career, Rodrigo is still getting better at skating in 2014, Burnquist is grinding helicopters, and Koston’s Menik Mati part — as groundbreaking as it was — is his only, like, not “fun” part, ever. (Creager’s part is still pretty cool TBH. Frontside noseslides on regular ledges!)