Howard Glover’s Pre-2k is a time capsule in the same vein as R.B. Umali’s Revisited series and the San Francisco Greatest Misses compilation, in that it accumulates footage that was left out of video parts and montages throughout the nineties, just before the internet carved out a channel for funneling unused footage to the world so companies could keep keep kids happy and the Slap Message Boards in sweaty, intellectually-stimulating debates regarding outfits and posture.
That’s not to say that Pre-2k is some extended B-grade footage reel, in fact, one of the overall highlights of the video altogether is that it manages to unearth many tricks we had simply heard about or seen photos of over the years, but never actually knew where the footage wound up. Mike Wright’s switch frontside flip into the Courthouse Drop is one of those tricks that everyone always assumed was never landed, back in the era when there were fewer standards (at least in New York) on running photos of failed tricks. But yeah, it’s in there, in all its glory. Brian Anderson’s kickflip back tail bigspin on the Flushing extension from flat is another heard-of-but-never-seen standout entry as well.
The video is structured by location: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens all have their respective sections, and the final portion is a shared part between Rodney Torres, Geo Moya, and Mike Wright — all of whom also appear throughout the other three portions as well. Each section is split up by an interview reel with select nineties New York skaters. You’re not going to hear any sort of deep, profound wisdom or detail-rich anecodotes, so the overall highlight of the interviews tends to be Brian Wenning’s ending tour de force, which may or may not have been conducted under the guise of morally objectionable substances, where he shouts out the Goo Goo Dolls in a language that seems to loosely resemble modern English.
The most striking part of Pre-2k is just how many of the spots they skate in it are actually still around. Sure, it’s almost painful to watch the footage of BAM in it knowing that it was more-or-less the best ledge spot on the eastern seaboard, and it was paved over with an infuriating strip of useless asphalt simply to stop skateboarding, but so many of the cutty little marble ledges and stair sets that appear throughout the video are still around, and collecting dust.
My history teacher throughout my last two years of high school once told the class that his philosophy for teaching is, “if you throw enough shit on the wall, some of it is bound to stick.” You kind of get the same sort of attitude towards skateboarding in Manhattan if you ever happen to skate with some of the dudes who were around for the bulk of the nineties. (Or at least the ones still genuinely psyched on skateboarding.) Skate around the Financial District or Park Avenue with Billy Rohan one day and just see how many spots he actually suggests that you skate. They won’t just be the five on your set-in-stone hit list. They’ll be things that you haven’t bothered to skate since your first year of skateboarding. Spots that you never bothered to re-wax after they got sandblasted. Spots that you typically get kicked out of under one minute, and simply don’t want to bother testing your odds on. Or spots that you forgot were once spots altogether because nobody bothered to film a trick on one of them in the past five years for some big video.
As we get increasingly tied to TFs, plazas, and skateparks, it is important to watch videos like Pre-2k with a modern context in mind — not passively wishing that the Little Banks were still there, or wondering what it was like to actually have a ledge spot in Brooklyn that is worth a trainride. There are still a ton of spots in this city, and while most of them aren’t great, we are fortunate enough to live in a city that has bigger and better problems to worry about than knobbing everything in sight. (Shit, remember Rob Welsh’s Free Your Mind intro? We’ve been making off pretty good with spots these past ten years.) Either way, when it comes out, grab a copy of Pre-2k, watch it, get psyched, and go skate something you’ve otherwise ignored for the past half-decade.
This review is for the pre-release version of Pre-2k that premiered on Friday, June 4th, at the Queens Museum of Art, before the Maloof Money Cup. The video is slated to release in a full, extended format on DVD on June 25th. We’ll have info up once it is for sale at shops.