There’s that old line about “eight million stories in the naked city.” Skateboarding’s variant is something like 27 minutes of footage in a day, at least according to this DVD. For the few who may not know, the All City Showdown is a contest in which three skaters and one filmer are allotted eight hours to get as much footage as possible within city limits. (Staten Island was conveniently ignored.) The best team wins two grand that one could assume will be spent on art supplies or alcohol.
The final result is a footage dump by design, but it’s tough to not watch it with “Wow, this all happened in one day?”-sentiments throughout. Compare this to say, ten years ago, when an east coast footage dump like E.S.T. took over twelve months to come out. All City Showdown features almost every young not-pro you have seen in a New York web clip or homie video before. The real pleasure of a video featuring non-curated, sometimes B-level footage from people you could easily YouTube a cohesive video part from is that it encompasses everybody at once. Practically every recognizable crew is represented. (Except Quartersnacks, obvs. We declined participation because we can only skate flat, and also don’t start skating until 5 P.M.)
It is easy to pretend that the truth about New York skateboarding lies somewhere between an all-too-honest parody of visitors’ romanticism, and Bobby Puleo’s dismay with people undervaluing the difficulty of cellar doors. Watching the video, you realize there really isn’t an archetypical New York skater, be it a local or a transplant. Not everyone skates cellar doors, people do more than cool ollies, and an allegiance to high waters is more of a sarcastic internet joke than an actual uniform.
Consider the two MVPs of the contest — Tony Durao and Aaron Herrington — and notice how they skate nothing alike, yet are equally sick. Add your next couple of favorites (Jordan Trahan, Rob Gonyon, etc.) and the point still stands. There are some in the video who scour the dimmest corners of the city for crust, sure, but there are also kids who wouldn’t look out of place at Stoner Park, dudes with more transition-oriented roots, rail skaters, and a solid handful who are uncategorizable (see below.) It took a video featuring maybe sixty-plus New York skaters to drive home the point that skating here goes far beyond those whose lives changed when Pappalardo’s Fully Flared part dropped.
In fact, the crew that won the entire contest won in the most un-New York way possible: they used a car. You can pretty much map out everyone else’s path throughout the city in each section, whereas these guys jump from uptown to deep Queens back to downtown, which, you know, is Cali as hell. And if you’re not sold on the “Tony Durao is the next Zered or something” fan club, watch how much footage he gets in a single day.
Altogether, the video is a glorified footage reel of a particularly productive day from every crew, edited to safe (mostly) hip-hop songs A.K.A. not the worst way to recharge enthusiasm on all the spots you were over skating before the winter came. They should do this every year.