10. The rise in popularity and subsequent banning of Four Loko
The lifeblood of New York skateboarding has always been diluted with alcohol. When sizing up the abilities of skateboarders in this city, is it important to not merely assess tricks, but the social environment within which these tricks are accomplished. It is not what tricks you can do, but what tricks you can do after waking up at 5 P.M. with half of a six pack you purchased at 4:48 in the morning still in your fridge, a pounding headache, and your friend-who-used-to-skate’s unread mass text about his acquisition of a bottle in six hours. Film a part amongst this madness (or avoid it altogether), and you will be ranked among the greats. If you falter, well, you’re just like the rest of them.
This dependence on alcohol is not comical, or tangential by any means, and it all begins with one simple exposure. For the pre-internet nineties, it was the frequent sight of the 40 ounce bottle in Kids that told youngsters what to drink. In the early-2000s, half of the under-eighteen contingent that would skate flat in the back of Union Square past 10 P.M. was introduced to alcohol through Sparks. And even further down the line, the 2008 opening of Trader Joe’s on 14th Street brought forth the availability of $2 wine for a whole slew of younger degenerates, bringing new relevance to the otherwise outdated term, “wine-o.” But 2010 was hit hard with the youth-marketed Four Loko beverages, which fueled this past summer with relentless forays into bad decisions, and can now be found on Craigslist for $10 a can.
9. Skateboarders prove themselves to be dumber than previously thought
Despite the fact that there is a small chunk of intelligent skateboarders, the activity itself does not sprout connotations of brilliance. Athletic and comedic geniuses, sure, but we’re talking about generic brain capacity. Still, at a bare minimum, most skateboarders are capable of mediating through the simple rulebook of common sense, that is, unless you’re a crew of idiots from Florida that think skating on a stranger’s parked car at Lenox Ledges is a good idea. The most unfortunate circumstance of this event is not the empty-headed disregard for acting accordingly in a place foreign to you, but the fact that the wrong people got beat up for doing so.
8. The McCarren Skatepark slowly begins to sink into the sea
When over thirty-percent of the park’s surface area is cracked cement after one not-even-that-bad of a winter, the entire side of every ledge is torn apart, and you have to resort to using Bondo to fix a place *DESIGNED* for skateboarding, you know it can’t be far off from being one of the worst attempts at a concrete skatepark in history. (At least as far as materials go.) The Chinatown park has held up better and it is made from plastic. On a brighter note, McCarren has been reported as the only place you can encounter Kyle Iles sightings.
7. The Brooklyn Banks get completely closed down
Even though the construction on the bridge and the accompanying fence is more symbolic of a demise than an actual loss (you can read up on as to why the fence being put on top of the wall at the Little Banks was the beginning of the end for the spot), it was significant in that it took one of the last, still somewhat standing classic east coast skate spots. With Pulaski being the sole exception, every spot ingrained within nineties east coast video footage is left to compulsive YouTube archivists and memories. While many haven’t bothered spending considerable time at the Banks since 9/11, it still sucks that they finally shuttered the spot. (You can believe all that 2014 re-opening talk if you want, but the Public Works / Department of Transportation under Mike Bloomberg could care less about your skate spot. Especially since there will be four hundred skate parks available by then. Fix the dirt patch and masonry at the Little Banks, keep your skateparks, and save a ton of money.)
6. The emergence of a new media dynasty
The mid-2000s were the golden years of New York related skateboard media — the release of the VX2100, the GL2, widespread high-speed internet, pirated copies of Dreamweaver, and a booming economy enabling better Christmas gifts — all helped build a collection of websites that relayed every single kickflip at Beer Bar, and every crooked grind to fakie at the Battery Park ledges. Many of the names behind these projects went separate routes, and have since left Flipmode as the dominant player in the media elite of this city. However, 2010’s most visible pair of homebred video projects, Goin’ Ham, and Film Me, both rank among the finer local releases in recent years, and offered us everything from the last bit of memorable footage from the Banks, to a Plan B affiliate not necessarily synonymous with ledge dancing or reality TV empires, not to mention a whole new group of kids to look forward to seeing footage from every couple of months.
Bonus Mini Five — Predictions for 2011:
5. The Real Video will be the best video of 2011.
4. With the moderate success of the Dylan Gravis shoe, idea-starved shoe companies will be making even more insane forays into producing scene-friendly shoes.
3. “Little Andre,” whose “S__ S_____” nickname we’ll avoid using since it’s actually gross if you think about it, will probably be better at skateboarding than the remainder of New York City by the end of the year.
2. Skating downtown is going to become even more annoying because you’re going to be told to go to the Tribeca Park fifty times every Saturday afternoon.
1. Quartersnacks will continue attempting to interview Ryan Hickey to little avail.