Metropolitan 2.0 — An Interview With Keith Hufnagel

January 5th, 2017 | 9:00 am | Features & Interviews | 7 Comments

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Photo by Ari Marcopoulos

The internet has given plenty of pros, videos and companies — or at least an idealized version of them — a second life. Case in point: Metropolitan was a Deluxe-distributed wheel brand that ended in the mid-nineties. It began its second internet life on the pages of Police Informer, a defunct Blogspot page of largely east coast-centric magazine scans before Chromeball took the torch over in 2010. The company’s ads were black and white portraits of skateboarding in New York shot by Ari Marcopoulos, with a distinct non-skate photographer take on the traditional skate ad.

Since then, those iconic ads have been reblogged, regrammed and reposted in every place possible, oftentimes by people too young to have ever ridden a set of Metropolitan wheels. After seeing a few glimpses of Metropolitan gear that was a bit too clean to be vintage throughout the past year, we learned that Keith Hufnagel, one of the original teamriders for the brand, is relaunching it altogether.

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For those don’t know, what was Metropolitan?

Metropolitan was a wheel company. Deluxe was doing Spitfire in the early nineties, and they decided they wanted to have a brand that was more east coast driven. They realized they weren’t getting much traction on the east coast. It was Jim Thiebaud, Chris Pastras, and a few others who developed Metropolitan, which only featured east coast skaters. It was myself, Ryan Hickey, Maurice Key, and a bunch of other guys.

It was a cool but very short-lived company. Spitfire was doing well, Metropolitan was doing decent, and they had to make the decision on which to run with. Spitfire was the stronger brand, so they continued to go with it. We were all heartbroken because we all thought Metropolitan was the best brand ever. It was around for three or four years, but I’m not positive.

Was there any reason as to why Deluxe wanted to start a wheel company as opposed to a board brand?

I’m not sure. Deluxe has done a lot of off-shoots that were board companies. They did Stereo, they did Rasa Libre. Some stayed, some went away. I’m not sure why they didn’t approach Metropolitan as a board company, but maybe their plate was too full.

One Step Above Garbage

September 19th, 2016 | 9:58 am | Daily News | 10 Comments

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They painted the curbs here yellow, and now it’s the second or third best spot in the city that you don’t get kicked out of. Paint more stuff yellow.

Can’t remember the last time a montage got me as psyched as “Faces,” the new one from Ben Chadourne, featuring the Blobys, Bobby Worrest, Hjalte, etc. These videos have a remarkable way of making Paris look like the funnest place in the world (which it probably is), even in the winter. The Rod Stewart is also perfect.

“As tennis’ stars age, will aping skateboarding provide an elixir of youthful advertising audiences or will tennis’ wealthy overlords catch onto the notion that a sizable bulk of pro shoes and contract dollars are tied up in veteran pros whose salad grinding days of filming feature length video parts may lie years in the past?” — Boil the Ocean re: skateboarding’s current infatuation with tennis. Frozen in Carbonite also tackled this subject four years ago following Gino’s Mcenroe commercial et al.

Kingpin interviewed Nick Von Werssowetz about his new company, Hotel Blue and the evolution of LurkNYC. Part 3 of Lurk’s “Mean Streets” series is also now live.

The Bunt has a tell-all interview with Darren Harper. Daniel Kim is my fave skater too.

Whoa is this the first wear test video to feature the Le Bain hot tub? Is that even the Le Bain hot tub? Ripped Laces x Canal Wheels give the Brad Cromer Huf pro model a try.

Given that 2016 marks the twenty-year anniversary of everything from Welcome to Hell, to E.E. 3 to Mouse, SMLTalk has a retrospective of all the seminal 1996 videos in two parts. Also kinda hard to disagree that Tincan Folklore was a precursor to a lot of the shit going on in videos today, even moreso than its exalted predecessor.

After the demise of Love, the Sabotage boys took a southern trip hitting a string of the few remaining plazas left in the U.S: Pulaski, Raleigh Courthouse, Legislative (safe to say this is probably the best spot in the country at this point?), Blackbox, etc.

The 917 team dropped a midwest tour video in anticipation of their Nike collab.

“Pure Moods” is a new half New York / half S.F. montage from Waylon Bone.

NY Skateboarding posted part three of their Huf interview, which discusses the rebirth of Metropolitan Wheels, the Marc Johnson v.s. Choc beef, etc.

Um, Ghetto Child Wheels is making a comeback, with almost the same team. And the god Peter Smolik already left the rebooted Menace before the reboot even got to booting in order pursue his own skateboard business venture. Godspeed to the god.

Quote of the Week
Pryce Holmes: “I probably spend $30,000 a year on booze.”
Ben Blundell: “I’ve never made over ten.”

~Positivity is Sexy~

September 6th, 2016 | 11:14 am | Daily News | 4 Comments

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Free beer to whoever disses it with a Tas Pappas tag. Photo via The Shady One

“One thing I realized once I started being in the world of Instagram was that people don’t let go of things. If something has emotionally affected somebody in some powerful way sometime in their life, that doesn’t fade. If anything, social media kind of fans the flame of that and almost reestablishes that emotional connection.” With so much discussion of social media and its pros/cons in any skate interview these days, it’s nice to hear that it actually does have a way of bringing about some greater good from one of the happiest people to ever ride a skateboard, Ray Barbee.

“With a skater like Jamal Williams, Ricky Oyola or even Pat Steiner, people aren’t pulling out the yardstick to measure how high they’re ollieing. It’s more the feelings people get by watching that person on a skateboard.” Also with a good bit of social media talk + skaters having an impact on people’s lives, Get Born Mag has a detailed interview with Josh Stewart. ~feelings~

Hotel Blue is the new board company from the LurkNYC camp, and Nick just dropped a nine-minute promo featuring the entire team over the weekend. Back smith backside flip on the Leonard Street ledge was wild.

Bobshirt has a 25-minute interview with Bill Strobeck detailing pretty much every last anecdote about the prime era of Alien Workshop + Habitat. Includes a special guest appearance from a former orange-beanied colleague halfway in ;)

Huf gave Jenkem a tour of some of the places he grew up skating in Manhattan.

Boil the Ocean on Anti-Hero’s persistence in an increasingly tense landscape of board brand longevity, and a potential Daan Van Der Linden S.O.T.Y. run.

Some warm-ups from Yaje Popson and friends at the L.E.S. Park.

Village Psychic has a content monopoly on anything having to do with the little guys keeping the romance in printed skate media alive. An interview with the minds behind Germany’s Solo mag.

Mushrooms to switch flip into a bowl + other debauchery from CPH Open.

Part two of The Bunt’s interview with Spencer Hamilton is now live.

Well, this is the first instance of someone skating in Polo shoes I can remember, which re-opens the hypothetical discussion of what the Ralph skate team would look like…

Quote of the Week: “Positivity is sexy. Creativity is even sexier.” — Andrew Wilson

Thank you for everything Gene Wilder.

Summer Friends

August 29th, 2016 | 5:00 am | Daily News | 2 Comments

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Dunno why there’s been so many B&W headline images lately ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Scan via Chromeball

#TBT that time Daniel Kim ruined the BBQ.

“You have to create all new levels of skateboarding that never existed before.”

Speaking of all new levels of skateboarding, Tiago was in town for Street League and these two clips of him skating Seaport and the L.E.S. Park got brought up in at least four conversations this weekend. #SOTY.

Put a formal Twitter inquiry regarding the inventor of the noseslide earlier this summer (the consensus was Gonz.) Mackenzie Eisenhour discusses it in this TWS piece regarding the origins of the noseblunt: “Even prior to the noseblunt, Mark is also credited with adapting the noseslide to ledges and handrails on the streets, after seeing photos of Neil Blender innovating nose stalls on ramps.”

Some more footage of Antonio Durao skating Harlem, presumably from the same day that he did the line that was #1 on the QS Top 10 last week :)

Given as how they’ve been dominating all forms of culture since Switch Mike started blasting So Far Gone in any and all of his BMWs and Herschel became the new Jansport, it should come as no surprise that the most enjoyable skateboard podcast also comes from Canada. Season two of the Bunt is now running, and starts off with cult hero, Spencer Hamilton. Expedition-1 talk, non-alcoholic beers, etc.

Lindsey Robertson and the Media Bias Against Heelflippers: A Case Study.

Tao did a rad remix of the Nike SB FRI.day video with the CPH fam.

The early 2000s nostalgia continues. Is the Pace Ledge due for a comeback?!

Glad the news about the Berlin benches getting removed ended up being a false alarm. A replica of that should be mandatory for every U.S. city with over six skaters. My second favorite skate spot on this planet.

Kingpin interviewed Ian from Jenkem about the Jenkem book. Available here.

NY Skateboarding posted up part two of their interview with Keith Hufnagel. A good bit of Brooklyn Banks talk in there. Aaannnddd there’s a new Crail Cocuh with Huf and Carroll. Good bit of Embarcadero talk in that one.

Um, no. New Jersey is actually the best. John Cozz’s HYD part.

Quote of the Week: “It’s literally harder to get into a bar than it is to get married.” — Rob Harris

Enjoy that school year everyone ;)

A Sense of Seriousness…

August 22nd, 2016 | 10:34 am | Daily News | No Comments

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Emilio Cuilan’s DANY video is now available for purchase from TheDANYstore.com. Supreme and Labor also have copies for sale. The video features full parts from Shawn Powers, Genesis Evans, Jason Byoun, Adam Zhu and Yaje Popson, plus appearances from a whole lot of others. Minute teaser for the video can be found here.

Happy birthday Keith Denley.

There’s this video of Kenny Anderson and Vincent Alvarez skating Lenox Ledges (Antony Correa cameo!), and yes, Kenny footage is always a pleasure, but there’s only one bit of Lenox footage from the past week that anyone was talking about. Good lord.

Trife alumnus, Black Dave Willis, has a new part live on the Thrasher site entitled “NYBD.” Gap to front blunt on the out ledge across from World Trade is a wild one.

Can’t Ban the J.B. Man.

Tredje Akten is a rad 20-minute video by the homie Tao from the Malmö + Copenhagen scene. Features Ville, Hjalte, etc + a full Polar section at the end.

NY Skateboarding posted part one of apparently a three-part series of video interviews with Keith Hufnagel. This one talks about meeting Keenan Milton, the infamous Ryan Hickey house that housed all homeless skateboarders of the era, moving to San Francisco, skating Embarcadero, etc.

Gotta #respect a ten-minute Boston video that doesn’t hit Eggs once. Not easy. “Mean Streets Volume 2,” A.K.A. the LurkNYC boys go to Boston.

Two teasers for upcoming videos that should be a good time: Division from Politic Skateboards (#caddoalert), and Elan Vital from Studio Skateboards.

What Youth did a quick video interview with Challex Olson. He slipped on a sandwich.

Who’s going to lug this parking block to Tompkins T.F. West?

This is tasteless and insane, but you can visualize every scenario of this hypothetical Seinfeld script that imagines the characters’ lives in the week after 9/11.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Who cares about Melo’s Olympic postgame interview, Russell Westbrook’s “Now I Do What I Want” video is singlehandedly the most inspirational sports moment of 2016, and the only promotional material the NBA needs for the 2016-2017 season. #MVP.

Quote of the Week: “I’m so glad I didn’t go to double town China set.” — John Choi

Started the past week worth of mornings with this, and it worked out pretty well :)