Shit To Sugar — A History of Trying to Make New York’s Chinatown Banks ‘Work’

The China Banks are some of skateboarding’s most hallowed ground. From being a pivotal filming location for Powell Peralta’s The Search For Animal Chin, to the site of Joe Valdez’s tricks that earned him a devoted cult twenty years after the fact, to the host of numerous NBDs, magazine covers, and even 2018 video part enders — there are few street spots in skateboarding that have been able to endure FOUR DECADES of continued innovation and history.

…but those are San Francisco’s China Banks.

New York‘s China Banks are perfect three-foot-high quarterpipe transitions, which are ideal for a city that didn’t begin getting a surge in actual skatepark transitions until the 2010s. They have gaps between them, a hip, and are the perfect size for anyone looking to have fun learning a transition trick on a natural quarterpipe. The only catch is, of course, that they are made out of perhaps the only surface less conducive to skateboarding than fire or water: cobblestones.

So why have our Chinatown Banks, constructed out of some of the worst possible material for skateboarding, endured as a kinda-sorta-maybe-could-be spot for the past ~twenty years?

You know those friends who always find themselves in “project” relationships, where they try to see the best in the person despite countless red flags, and drain themselves trying to “fix” their significant other? That’s New York skateboarding’s relationship with the China Banks — I mean, have you seen the garbage we skate? We look at bad spots through rose colored glasses, thinking they’re mere steps away from perfection. We’re co-dependent on these bad spots; the plain trick on the bad spot just means so much more than if it’s a hard trick on a recycled plastic bench in a parking lot. Maybe if we approach them just the right way, and apply just the right tweaks to them, the Chinatown Banks will love us back.

Unfortunate for us, things don’t always work out as optimistically as we hope.

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Getting There, Getting There, Getting There…

This is perhaps the *SECOND* (!) time in this skateboard media enterprise’s modern history that there has been THREE :( Monday Links post to hold the five slots on the homepage. We’re working our way out of this slow news cycle + backend work and should be good to roll with more than two continuous updates to share with you by this time next week. (Hopefully! …but actually!) In the meantime, please enjoy the above image of Justin Henry and Dustin Henry. Photo by Zach Sheats.

O.J. has a cruiser clip with the actual best skater, Jawn Gardner.

Frog collaborated with Noah on a run of printables, and made this six-minute clip fetauring Jesse Alba, Chris Millic, office favorite Krazy Frankie, and Pat Gallaher, with spiritual guidance from self-help guru, Jason Byoun.

“Oh yeah, I remember what that comment said actually. It was like, ‘My 5 year old cousin could make this on Microsoft Paint.’ Do you actually use Microsoft Paint?” Noah also has an interview with Chris about the history of the always-triggering Frog factory.

The Canal crew has a new edit filmed exclusively at the Grand Street basketball courts (I guess we’ve all just been forced to come to terms with that spot to the point of it being an acceptable place to spend an entire day, huh?), and an interview about their brand over on the Office mag site.

…aanndd the latest round of Elkin raw tapes has footage from the spot before its colorful make-over, and good God did it look way more depressing five years ago.

Free has somewhat of an interview / feature about how they came to “get” Sean Pablo, plus The Shady One™ filmed a bit of a “Day in the Life” montage with him on the occasion of his Cons colorway. Shout out to meeting at T.F. West, skating over the Williamsburg Bridge, only to skate back to regular T.F.

Cleardata” is a twelve-minute video that offers a glimpse into what post-apocalyptic Philadelphia skateboarding looks like in 2018.

This one of a bunch of upstate N.Y. dudes doing some non-obvious Paris spots earned a couple rewatches. Always nice when a trip video feels like something more than just a mere footage dump.

E.J. told me Antwerp was his favorite city at one point in time. The #RC-enthusiast POP Trading boys made it a point to film their entire new fall launch montage there.

Under a minute of Alltimers good vibrations via Dana Ericson ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah, Chinatown Manny is definitely back in everyone’s rotation

Quote of the Week: “Scootering is a statement.” — Zach Baker

Never need an excuse to post this guy’s music, but Max always somehow sounds better when the weather is like this.

aight bet. — A Hardbody Production

“aight bet.” is a check-in from Hardbody with a few loose ends filmed since the DANY video came out two long summers ago. Filmed around the city, and featuring Joseph Delgado, Chachi, Shawn Powers, Javaris Williams, Yaje Popson, Jason Byoun, Kevin Tierney, Genesis Evans, and Adam Zhu. Filmed and edited by Emilio Cuilan.

Stay tuned for something special soon ♥

In the meantime, Hardbody goods are available on Hardbody.nyc, and at CHCM Shop (2 Bond Street, quite literally across the street from the gap.)

Alternate YouTube Link

Previously: The DANY video, DANY extras

The 2017 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 15-6

Let’s keep her going til the Hardbody holiday party ;) • Previously in 2017: 25-16

Past Editions: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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The 2017 Quartersnacks Year in Review: 25-16

It was a great year for skateboarding — especially in New York, but also beyond — despite being especially rough on humans otherwise. Let’s get this one rolling :)

Past Editions: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

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