Hopefully you didn’t expect the most important event in New York City skateboarding history of the past ten years to be lumped in with everything else. All but one…
Quartersnacks Celebrates the Decade – The 100 Most Important Events in New York City Skateboarding from 2000 to 2009: 100 to 91, 90 to 81, 80 to 71, 70 to 61, 60 to 51, 50 to 41, 40 to 31, 30 to 21, 20 to 11, 10 to 2, Number one.
10. Scott Schwartz builds “The Box” at the TF – 2003
(Side note: “The Box” is often referred to as “The World Industries Rail Box”) In the beginning of the summer of 2003, while working at Alphabet City Skateboard Operation, Scott Schwartz had a brilliant idea of constructing a ledge in which the angle iron was composed out of two, World Industries brand mini-flatrails. As soon as this structure emerged on the TF asphalt, everyone’s life changed. New York life changed. The ratio of those who can do back tails as opposed to those who can’t became 1-to-5 for the first time in New York City history. Everyone who spent their summer at the TF in 2003 can go to sleep tonight knowing that Scott Schwartz is responsible for at least fifty-percent of the tricks they know.
9. Black Dave and Kevin Tierney meet Dylan Reider — 2009
On my way home in mid-May 2009, I bumped into Kevin and Black Dave on Avenue A and East Third, they were both extremely intoxicated. I asked them what they were up to, and they mentioned some roof top party that would inevitably filled with 17-year-old girls wearing flannels and smelling like they were two years into their impending lifetime of negligent hygiene. So, I decided to continue on my way home.
The next day, I saw BD at 12th and A.
“How’d the rest of your night go?” I asked.
“Alright, I guess. We were super drunk,” he replied.
“Yeah, I noticed.”
And just as I was about to turn away and hop onto a warm-up backside 5050, he muttered these heart wrenching words that will forever stain the part of my mind associated with regretful decisions and missed opportunities.
“Oh, we bumped into Dylan Reider,” he told me.
I began to blush and try to ward off an immense wave of jealousy. My mind raced — if only I wasn’t so foolish and stayed with those two, I could have met Dylan (and maybe cut off a locket of his hair). I’m still kicking myself in the face for missing the chance to this very day, but at that moment, I conjured up every crumb of nonchalance in my body and tried to act like my life wasn’t ruined.
“Oh, how did that go?” I replied after an awkward pause, long enough for the remainder of my lovelorn life to flash before my eyes.
“Well, he was with this chick, so me and Kevin were like, ‘Yo look at those two hot chicks’ and tried to say what’s up. Then we were like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s Dylan Reider.'”
8. History’s greatest game of S.K.A.T.E. is played at the Tompkins Square stop on the éS contest circuit – 2005:
Mike Wright makes it to the final round without flipping his board a single time by doing 540 shove its and whatnot.
TF Bradley aka The Demon Child almost makes it to the last round based off the strength of his nollie inward heelflips, which he described as being “hot.”
Danny Weiss made it to the finals and had a legion of supportive fans, including a drunken Watermelon Alex (this is the early afternoon, mind you) throwing beer in the lanes making it increasingly difficult to land tricks for his opponents.
7. “Float On” by Modest Mouse released – 2004:
Between the years of 2004 and 2005, there seldom was a fourteen-year-old with a 3-chip camera and a bubble lens who did not at least once edit footage of his friends doing 5-0 grinds on a bench behind some school to this song. Not only was there skating in these clips, but there was pretty footage of flowers, and sped up instances of clouds passing by as a bunch of adolescents scurried below them, flipping and grinding their lives away. Once you had a few time lapses, a few flowers, and “Float On” playing in the background, by circa-2004 Skate Perception message board standards, you became an artist. By QS standards, you became an asshole.
It is highly doubtful that the creators of this horrible piece of music could have imagined the brand of high schooler elitism that they would breed, all because some retard decided to add this song to an iMovie timeline, compress a Quicktime file, and post it on a message board full of idiots for “critiques” (“How are my colors?” “Your blues are off.” “Should I ask my parents for a VX1000 instead of a GL1 for Christmas instead?” “Yeah! VX1 4 life!” “But I think most of my friends will start doing coke and contracting STDs by the end of junior year.”) If there was ever an event that provoked filmers to start regarding themselves as filmmakers, and not just a bunch of retards pressing a record button and sitting at the bottom of a stair set, it was the release of this song.
6. Gino Ianuchi’s part in Yeah Right released – 2003:
The northeast’s second greatest skateboarder’s return to form in Yeah Right was Long Island’s defining moment of triumph in the past ten years. It set trends like no other, and these trends soon became standards. The no comply was quickly elevated out of “novelty trick” status and made a permanent fixture in anyone’s trick list. It has since been cheesed-out beyond all comprehension and this part is a clear-cut reason as to why Gino and Aaron Szott should be the only ones allowed to do it. A widespread rise in dizziness and fatigue throughout New York was also the result of a mass desire to uncover the secrets of the backside 360, which never in our lifetime had looked so good up until this part. Perhaps most importantly, this part had a massive effect on the environment, in that it inspired many skaters to begin venturing out to Roslyn Banks, way deep out on the Island, so they can perform manual maneuvers down the ruggedest concrete manual pad known to man. As the plies were shaven off, the demand for trees to be cut down and molded into skateboards rose, resulting in a sizable dent to the world’s maple supply.
5. Ryan Hickey retires from professional skateboarding — 2001:
Photo by Gary VanDeGriek
When Ryan Hickey hung up the board, skateboarding lost its greatest athlete. But it wasn’t like Ewing being injured during the 1999 playoffs or Jordan retiring to play baseball – you knew they’d be back. Nor was it like Ewing on the Magic or Jordan on the Wizards when you simply lost interest in them beyond the highlight reels. Ryan Hickey left in his prime.
This wasn’t a loss for simply New York skateboarding, or even American skateboarding. The entire sport, activity, lifestyle lost perhaps the greatest player that was in the league. Who else could have rode for four companies and had four pro boards with a ten-year career that yielded quite literally thirty seconds of footage. “Why is that, anyway?” Because he was too real for the game. And his retirement from skateboarding leveled the playing field for many other professionals who simply sucked by comparison. However, fatherhood and fishermanhood have since been marred by inequality, as his inevitable entry into each respective field won the game before it even started.
4. Giovanni Reda’s Chomp On This part released – 2002:
While everyone has come to use “New York” as an adjective pertaining to skateboarding when discussing cellar doors, curb cuts and skating in the middle of the projects, Giovanni Reda made the most “New York” video part known to man in 2002, without any of these contrived notions of what New York skateboarding is or should be. For Mr. Reda’s magnum opus, it was chokeholds, saying “fuck” every two seconds, pioneering use of the word “kit” to a younger generation, theme music from cinema’s greatest portrait of Italian-American immigration, fighting jocks on Tenth Avenue, and use of the phrase “rat pussy.” There was no discussion of coffee, pizza, broads, or bagels, but otherwise, it doesn’t get more New York than that.
3. Aesthetics goes out of business — 2004:
There has rarely been a moment where white people have experienced such a communal feeling of emptiness as they did when the news broke of Aesthetics’ demise as a skateboard imprint. No longer did white New York skateboarders with a sincere devotion to offensive rap music have a tying bind to the 1990s culture that had legitimized our ability to admire such an inherently non-white enterprise. For with the end of a company that had informed our fashion sense, our crisis of identity and our overall security (or lack thereof) in repping something so endlessly tied to another race, we were left with a void that simply could not be filled by a newcomer, as Aesthetics had maintained its relevancy by remaining tied to influential, 1990s skateboard institutions (Mad Circle, etc.) that gave it the sort of high-end hood pass that the Hood Pass Committee had long ago stopped accepting applications for.
2004 remained a year of endless soul searching and we all reacted to it in a different way. Collectively, our shirts and pants got slimmer, and Foot Locker stopped offering the 5 for $20 tall tee deal that had so loyally sustained our wardrobes for all these years. Danny Weiss deleted all the 50 and Styles P off his iPod, got a girlfriend, and went preppy (he discovered capital-F fashion in 2005.) Josh Kalis started skating to the Rolling Stones (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) We stopped telling our whiter white friends that we had is significant portion of the Roc-A-Fella and Diplomats discography memorized and started forcing ourselves into conversations about “bands” (seriously though, “bands” suck.) And Supreme no longer had a fellow company on the opposite coast working with the “white-people-who-like-rap-and-wear-camo-pants” look, so it felt alone and unpopular, forcing itself to revamp its line, and forever remove the nylon drawstring parachute pants from its catalog.
2. The back of Union Square gets renovated – 2008:
Despite the fact that the name “Union” is often snickered underneath the breath of everyone who has been fortunate enough to outgrow it, it is without a doubt, on the highest echelon of New York culture for those too young to get into the Fish. Overall, it is a dirty, low down, and low brow center for the most filthy, and disgusting rejects of society — goths, ravers, environmentalists that didn’t graduate high school, white people with dreads, snakeboarders — but it just pulsated with such endless character and uniqueness that was simply impossible to turn away from. Much like New Jersey, and Russia, its filth and degeneracy is the sort that only a true die-hard supporter, with knowledge of the location’s inner workings, could love and appreciate. And if not them, than certainly any sixteen-year-old who spent nearly every summer night there, witnessing regularly-scheduled bum fights, beefs between squatters, DMX-look-a-likes being arrested, bikers getting fucked up by a bunch of 120-pound fifteen-year-olds wielding Snapple bottles, pretty women with sweaty pale legs in short skirts, and girls who ran away from their South Brooklyn homes due to curfew restrictions, only to dye their hair pink, put gages in their ears and require their significant others to go to the doctor for some penicillin a week after they met.
Every crack and poorly etched piece of “graffiti” in Union Square tells the story of a place that is so hated, so maligned, so utterly objectionable, that you could not help but be lured into its sphere of moral degradation and immerse yourself in its cultural trappings, sometimes even until the 4:45 a.m. sun began to outweigh the darkness that concealed the scumbags living there.
Once it was renovated, it went soft. It was still polluted with those who would inevitably find themselves on the lowest rungs of modern society, but they simply lacked the distinctions that marked them as fascinating examples of a society gone awry. They were no longer living character studies or post-graduate anthropology papers waiting to happen, but simply meandering ghosts that embodied a superficial aura. Their strangely compelling charm was erased once the new granite and stone had been set atop the previously barren, pre-renovation asphalt.
Simply put, something was missing.