Farewell to the Triangle

October 12th, 2017 | 12:08 pm | Daily News | 5 Comments

It has been observed that making it to the Houston Park bump is the bare minimum benchmark to feel proud of yourself for having left L.E.S. Park. The Triangle and Tompkins had a similar relationship.

It took two hours to convince your group of friends to leave T.F. and skate to the westside. One rolled his ankle, one went to meet up with his girlfriend, another is staying to #build with Slicky Boy. The survivors begin the push down E. 9th Street. Do they make it to the westside — er, do they make it past Third Avenue?

“How was the rest of the day, did you make it to the westside?”
“No. We got stuck at the Triangle, ______ was trying some stupid trick.”

Triangles were once an unshakeable part of the cultural landscape, but whoever is in charge of streets in the East Village feels otherwise, especially as we approach the great unknown of 2018. As of yesterday, The Triangle™ is no more. What this means for other three-sided skate spots across the world, e.g. the Miami triangle, the Trianeln train station in Malmö, etc. remains to be seen.

Spend time with your triangles while you can, because as always, ain’t none of this shit promised

UPDATE: They rebuilt it today, but the bump looks pretty worthless, plus the fact it has the little pink sidewalk bumps in it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Full review coming 2018.

Tompkins Finest Deli: The Second Coming

March 9th, 2012 | 6:38 pm | Daily News | 6 Comments

“Hello, I would like a grape blunt wrap, this tall can of Bud, and a panini, please.” — Average Customer

“I’ve only been in there once and never want to go back. I felt so uncomfortable; it’s run by upscale Muslims.” — E.J., notable T.F. historian

By now, you know that fears over life having to continue at the T.F. without a franchise deli were premature. A remodeled Tompkins Finest Deli recently opened, but it is clear that we have a frail, haphazardly fancied-up version of the original, which seems disinterested in catering to its most loyal consumer base.

The first red flag was the fabric signage. “Bodega” signs made of fabric typically denote Korean ownership. Though it is unlikely that there is a masked Korean store lord ruling over the Middle Eastern or “upscale Muslim” employees, the store’s management has adopted many of the Korean grocer hallmarks, namely an all-around spike in prices (though not exactly reaching the inevitable overpricing that exists at all New York corner stores with Korean owners.) Saddest of all, these price hikes were likely instated to cover costs of trivial matters — employee uniforms (Really? What happened to the workers still desperately holding on the tall tee craze of 2003?), better lighting, and a selection of baked goods.

If yesterday’s sight of a white guy dressed in business-casual attire, purchasing a red velvet cupcake from a place that previously only specialized in Dutch Masters, Arizona, Newport, and UTZ products was not a blatant-enough indicator of shifting economic interests at Tompkins Finest, they even had the nerve to get rid of their Tropical Fantasy account. Skateboarder staples like 12 oz. cans of brown sugar water, small Poland Spring bottles, and candy bars have remained at $1, but it is easy to see that we are not wanted here.

A hollow remnant of a once-slightly-below-average bodega is better than no bodega, but it’s unfortunate that Cafe Pick Me Up is the only TF-day-one institution still standing on Avenue A between 9th & 10th.

In brighter news:

The T.F’s Final Beacon of Hope

January 12th, 2012 | 1:20 pm | Daily News | 12 Comments

The dust has finally began to settle on the T.F. after the last two months’ worth of socio-political crises. Nearly all prominent East Village skateboard institutions were toppled, and much like Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a gigantic landmass has been left without a stable government. The only morsel of civilization is perhaps the most archaic symbol of civilized society there is — a wooden box with angle iron.

This post is an open call to all those who have not turned their back on Tompkins at this pivotal point in history. We have documented how it has achieved legacy status, and we will all still skate here even if there is a 50-foot diameter crater in the ground with ten district attorneys’ offices playing softball around it, but let us use this one remaining box as a building block to a greater future. We are already witnessing a miracle as it approaches two weeks of life without proper storage (on track to tie or break the blue flatbar’s record.)

Several ideas have been tossed around in an effort to prolong the box’s life and stability altogether. Most notably, there is an idea of offering a contract to nearby businesses to store the box during T.F. off-hours in exchange for advertising on its exterior (chalk panels would be affixed to the sides to display daily specials.) 9th Street Espresso (skaters love coffee), Mamani’s (skaters love food that only costs $1), San Loco (skaters love diarrhea), and Blind Barber (skaters love alcohol) are several names that have come up for discussion at high-level T.F. personnel meetings. The problem is actually getting people to return the box to the said establishment should an agreement be reached. Another idea has been appealing to the most prominent weed salesmen in the area to get on some Frank Lucas/Nino Brown shit, and give back to the community by furnishing the T.F. with new obstacles, and an adjacent shipping container for their safekeeping, in exchange for a bolstered public opinion of their otherwise frowned-upon industry.

Feel free to share any ideas below (and bring the box behind the tree, next to the hockey nets next time you’re done skating it for the time being.) Astronaut Status just dropped, so maybe the T.F. won’t ever matter again, since we’ll all be living on the moon by the end of the day.

End of an Era: Bodega Across From Tompkins Officially Closed

October 12th, 2011 | 3:25 pm | Daily News | 18 Comments

Many know that “Closed For Renovations” is often code for “Closed Because the Landlord Raised the Rent to a Price Only a Multi-Million Dollar Chain Could Afford,” but Tompkins’ wishful thinking lead us to believe otherwise. The bodega across from Tompkins officially has a “Business For Sale” sign on its front window, after a month-and-a-half of leading its devout skateboard-riding consumer base to believe that it was merely undergoing a non-existant renovation.

So, we salute you, Avenue A Mini Mart, for most likely earning more money from skateboarders’ pockets than ABC and Autumn combined over the past ten years.

We salute you for selling quarter snacks when they were still a quarter, and allowing the expired ones with the old price tag to sit on your display late into 2004 when Little Debbie doubled the price.

We salute you for providing the sugar, tobacco, and alcohol that has inevitably heightened Tompkins’ collective risk for diabetes, lung cancer, and liver failure throughout these years.

Deeper in the Skate NYC Archive…

May 7th, 2011 | 9:23 am | Time Capsule | 8 Comments

It has been a quietly monumental week for New York City skate footage, at least from a historical perspective. While the Skate NYC Apple Juice documentary is quickly working its way over 5,000 YouTube views, several lesser-exposed video clips have been released to accompany it, and they might be even more precious than the doc itself. I have no clue who “skinnypoo” is on Youtube, but he just uploaded a fifteen-minute gem of raw, late-eighties New York footage featuring Harold Hunter, Hamilton Harris, Jamal Simmons (first black man on the cover of Transworld), Ryan Hickey, and even Steven Cales, all in their teen years. We’re talking people who already have sparse video appearances throughout their regular skate careers, let alone footage of them skating Tompkins in 1989.

These videos, along with the documentary from earlier in the week, have quickly managed to fill in the aforementioned late-eighties/downtown gap that the Deathbowl doc glossed over. It’s amazing how there is barely any Banks footage throughout the videos, yet plenty of Midtown, World Trade Center, and Tompkins stuff, not to mention a few cutty East Village spots, including the (now blocked-off) manual pad in front of P.S. 19 on First and 11th, and the two-stair curb next to the NYU dorms on 9th Street between Third and Second. You can go two decades hearing about an era of skating that was barely documented outside of a few iconic Shut or Harold Hunter photos, and then out of the blue, someone unloads thirty minutes of never-before-seen footage. The stuff that turns up on YouTube is absolutely amazing…