15. The Dipset Reunion
It is no secret that video part song choices are crucial to developing musical preferences of all those who have grown up on skate videos. From the punk rock of the 1980s, to the indie shit that accompanies any emotional “skating is an art, bro” video of today, skateboarding has a much closer tie-in with music than traditional sports, whose typical soundtrack ranges from “Kernkraft 400” to “I Like To Move It Move It.” If you came of age in the early 2000s, the impact of Dipset, and its days of making era-defining opuses of ignorance, cannot be understated. The reunion was a beacon of hope for all of those who miss the magic that defined early-to-mid-2000s skateboarding — when the internet, skate plazas, reality shows, and awful rap dynasties were not a part of the cultural landscape. The reunion was also a chance for New York rap to get another shot at the previous-decade-dominating rap comeback, as Wu-Tang’s return in the 2000s was hardly worth the attention it was given.
14A. Chris Dobstaff gets employed by Plan B as a spot consultant on their northeastern tour
Chris Dobstaff’s role as a skateboard consultant has been largely neglected throughout history. It is briefly discussed on the rare Criterion Collection laserdisc of Osiris’ 1999 masterpiece, The Storm. There, it is revealed that Dobstaff’s creative eye was responsible for the hallmarks of Tyrone Olson’s seminal part. It was he who suggested Olson set up a ramp to unnecessarily high handrails (as opposed to not skating them at all), and also that he pop out midway of a ledge-over-gap, on the other side, instead of grinding the whole thing.
By the onset of the mid-2000s, Dobstaff had priced himself out of spot consulting, save the occasional “Making the Most of Your Swooshy Pants” seminar gig. (Sort of like that guy who produced “Throw Some D’s On It” set his price too high for rappers to afford, and has since been seen sparsely producing for acts like Fergie.) Then, Plan B came along, an enterprise that cannot exist outside Southern California, lest it spontaneously combust. Realizing that it needed the services of an expert, Plan B handed him over a lofty six-figure check in order to help find some ledges over dirt gaps (something unfamiliar to New Yorkers, as they mostly prefer grates, one more thing we have in common with the Italians) within Manhattan’s streets for their northeastern tour. Sheckler kickflip backside tailslid this previously unnoticed Water Street ledge, and Dobstaff’s fees have skyrocketed, as the success of the trip is another notch to the résumé.
14B. The Harsh Reality of Things
This has been a (possibly fabricated) tangent to distract you from the fact that, between the kickflip backside tailslide, and the backside flip down the double-set in the Chinatown Skatepark, Ryan Sheckler did the two best tricks in New York City this year.
13. Ted stops working at Sweet Paradise
Alcohol distribution venues are shortcuts to prolonging relevance in New York skateboarding. Everyone knows that. Early this year, Mr. Barrow submitted his resignation to Sweet Paradise, ending one of the lengthiest tenures of a New York City skateboarder / bartender. Ted’s post-relevance employment was moved to a pirate-themed venue on the westside, which specializes in meager portions, even by bar food standards. Unfortunately, the cap space for “venue relevance” on the westside is nearly bursting through the seams, as superpowers like the Jane and Le Bain make it difficult to co-exist in such a cutthroat nightlife environment, where competitors will drown each other in a pool of boiling chlorine for a mere shot at some cool points. As a result, many New York transplants have already began planning to move to another city once their lease runs out, as low-cost Cream Ales no longer figure into the equation of their existence.
12. The Manny Mania Fight
With all the talk of “keeping it real,” “the nineties were the best,” and similar, pro-violence sentiments of today, skateboarding has been a peaceful activity for quite some time. In 2010, it is actually frowned upon to not acknowledge fellow skaters, or vibe them out after they barge your spot with twenty of their friends who don’t know any better than to skate in front of a security window. It could be the sue-happy attitude of modern America, or Drake being the guiding force of the youth, that instills such non-confrontational sentiments, but simply said, there is something in the air that prevents a climate where punches and board-jackings are routine for maintaining order. All of that changed on a rainy late-August Sunday, for a quick, flash-in-the-pan moment barely long enough for a few cameras to capture it. Not saying this sort of thing is good for anybody or should happen more often, but it is one of those rare events when every single person who rides a skateboard had an opinion.
11. Someone brings a baby to Lenox Ledges
For the duration of recorded New York City skate history, there has always been one sphere of influence that has governed over the island of Manhattan. From the 80s to the late-90s, it was the Banks. From 2002 to 2006, it was Tompkins Square Park. Then came 12th and A, and all the street plazas, which have yet to exist for a period long enough to determine where the tug-of-war between powers will fall in favor of. Brooklyn Banks and TF legends breeding life into the world is nothing out of the ordinary, as key party members are only trying to increase familial influence within the group. (Neglecting that each party erodes in power before that child has even lost its baby teeth. Hell, some of the kids born in the T.F. era are like, fifteen or something now.)
But there has been a malice brewing in New York’s underbelly for quite some time on 110th Street. As of this past fall, someone brought a baby to Lenox Ledges, signaling that we may have a new ruler on our hands, and a bloody struggle to bring the throne uptown. Such an audacious prospect of an uptown title holder (one that will kick your board in to traffic if you get in his way, and borrow your DVDs without ever intending to return them) has not been paralleled since the Harlem Banks attempted to battle the Brooklyn Banks in the 1980s, ending in an embarrassing defeat for the former.
Bonus Mini-Five — Top 5 Things to Look Forward to in 2011:
5. The chance that
some idiot Ryan Sheckler tries to ollie over the Courthouse Drop. (As in, to flat.)
4. The possibility that the remodeled version of Grace Ledge will not be a massive bust.
3. A new Flipmode video. (For this one, 2011 may mean 2015. Although the goons posted up in front of Habib’s are saying something might be brewing before the year is out.)
2. Slicky Boy switch nosegrinding a handrail.
1. Billy flipping the marble over on the 12th & A ledges, so the edge is new. They are starting to look like a post-2000 Pier 7.