For a spot that has been around for so long, Columbus Park didn’t become the main only place people go if they leave L.E.S. Park until recently. There was Puleo’s INFMS line, A.V.E’s ollie over 5050, and the seminal 2002 “Ja$onwear Day” clip that may have been the second time the kinked ledge ever got waxed — but besides routine 2000s video appearances of the ledge, the spot was never a bustling nexus until now. In 2015, it clocked two major video enders, one magazine cover, a newly established A.B.D. docket of tricks done up the two block, and is the place you are most likely to see a group of semi-motivated skateboarders pointing iPhones at each other.
This spot has always been a mirage. It looks cool, and is a bit out of place from the rest of the shit you passed along the way, but there’s not much there. The way people skate it also only evolves every ~ten years: what has been a wallride for as long as people have been making the skate from Supreme to the Banks, became a chain-to-manny concoction with Dill’s Skate More part in 2004. And this past year, Austyn Gillette eyed the barely wider-than-a-board slab of concrete at the bottom of the wall, and made the massive [blindsided from traffic] ollie into Howard Street.
1991 is a new magazine dedicated to chronicling the notable cultural events of a certain year. 1991 happens to be the first installment, and future editions will follow the format for different years. In honor of the inaugural issue, QS is sharing one of its more pertinent stories with everyone, which happens to be about a video part filmed at a certain baseball diamond on Avenue A and E. 9th Street…in 1991. (It even ends with a fight! #onbrand.) Buy the 82-page issue at 1991magazine.com.
Cameron Martin is well known in the art world as a painter of photorealistic forests, mountains, and cliffs. Born in 1970 in Seattle, Martin boasts a CV as impressive as any working artist, with exhibitions around the world, features in major publications, and inclusion in museum collections across the country.
As an acquaintance of Martin, I knew that he was once a professional skateboarder and a member of the fabled Bones Brigade, a team that included Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, and Steve Caballero. While researching 1991, I found a video on YouTube called “Cameron Martin 1991 freestyle skateboarding NYC.” The 1:08 clip shows Martin skating in Tompkins Square Park and then farther downtown, under the Twin Towers. His skating is fast, technical, and flawless. The tricks flow together in successions of lines that look improvised but likely took hours to get right. Though it’s seemingly unconnected to a full length or sponsor, “Cameron Martin 1991” has the same feel as the most influential videos of 1991, including Blind’s Video Days and Alien Workshop’s Memory Screen.
“There’s quite a story behind that video,” Martin said when I asked him about it. We met at his studio in Greenpoint, and he was right—there is an interesting story behind the video. Here it is in his words. — N.
The other day, I met some people at T.F. West. After the hour-long pandering that goes on whenever the “where are we gonna skate?”-question is raised, some permit-wielding kickballers showed up. Outnumbered and frustrated, we left the park.
“So-and-so is at T.F.” An hour of half-hearted flat skating and aimless shittalking — it was not enough. We still craved a new chainlink cage with nothing more than flatground and maybe a trash receptacle to put on its side. We half-walked/half-skated the twenty minutes to T.F.
After a half-hour at T.F., a suggestion was made: “So-and-so wants to a try a trick over the can off the bump on 20th Street.”
The “bump” on 20th Street? You mean that small groove on the ground that just-maybe-kinda-but-kinda-not hoists you up? In an empty court surrounded by a chainlink cage? How did we get here? Three T.Fs in one day? We’ve been everywhere and back but I just can’t remember it all. What am I doing?
Here’s a complete history of how we got here.
2000: Alien Workshop’s Photosynthesis video is released. The second half of Robert Dyrdek’s part is filmed at a graffiti-covered indoor facility, which we later learn is called the “Training Facility” or “T.F.” for short. (This place later proved to be a blueprint for the “Fantasy Factory,” but that is a topic for another day.)
Yo, everyone needs to get better at looking out for cars when your boy is skating some spot that leads out into the street. In the immortal words of Rob Campbell: “It might be funny when you get hit by a car, but not when you get run over by one.”
Maybe it’s because we’re biased on this side of the country and they’ve been running way more east coast stuff as of late, but tough to disagree that Transworld issues have somehow gotten better as they have slimmed down and print has taken a backseat to online. Skateboard Story has a good interview with Mike Fitzgerald, TWS‘ director of sales, about keeping a three-decade-old skate magazine afloat in 2015.