#TBT: The King of the Grate


Nearly every time a particular trick on a particular spot is mentioned on a particular website, the responses are the same:

“My boy from Wisconsin already did that.”

“Didn’t some guy on Habitat Australia do that in a Slam four years ago?”

“That Canadian with the guages and the DCs did it switch.”

“Greg Lutzka frontside flipped into that.”

We live in a time when some guy lipsliding up Black Hubba is forgotten during a cursory nerd-out conversation regarding all the tricks that have been done there.

The year was 2006 and we were not yet twelve months into our now decade-long existence as an accredited skateboard fashion house. YouTube was a year-and-a-half old. Myspace was more popular than Facebook. Bronze was still Flipmode, and their star players were Billy Lynch and Derrick Z. That summer, they released what was then the pinnacle of little kid New York City skate videos, Flipmode 3. One of its standouts was a switch flip backside tailslide over the Flushing grate by James Reres.

Some Long Islanders can keep a buzz with a push, an ollie, a 5-0 grind. Most cannot.

If at least 20% of the numbers in your phone don’t begin with a 516, it is likely you may not know who James Reres is. Around the time of said Flipmode 3 trick, he rattled off a barrage of tricks over Flushing, with a ferocity not seen in city limits since Zered on the old Grace ledge. Individuals qualified to give proverbial Golden “Globes” crowned him “King of the Grate,” a title that still stands today. It didn’t matter if someone did one of those tricks down the line — they’d have to do all of them and probably some new ones to make a further impact on the spot.

It was right then and there that we knew ABDs would soon be useless. A guy unknown to most not living within a sixty-mile radius of Long Island had singlehandedly set the bar higher than anyone would be able to reach it for almost a decade to come. Our ABD statistician — a fresh-faced Princeton economics graduate tasked with populating spreadsheets with every trick done at the city’s spots — was out of a job.

Some kid on Supra flow is warming up at Santa Monica Courthouse with a switch flip back tail as you read this. Any nerd with Chickenbone wax and some patience could probably do The King’s tricks now. Except unless he has a time machine back to when miraculous skateboard achievements had a lifespan of more than 24 hours, worrying about whether someone did a better trick in 2015 is like hoping the sun won’t set. Thank you to James Reres for so unfairly tipping the scales at New York’s longest-standing marquee skate spot in his favor. Our office hasn’t cared about ABDs since.


  1. Where’s the sequence that was being shot of the sskfbsts? I never seen it to this day but always remember those flashes goin off durin the clip..

    Anyone whos never been to FMP can’t tell how hard that ledge actually is to skate…There are gigantic bumps in it that have tried to be bondo’d but never worked and the ledge is chunky as shit from over 15 years of skateboarding. The fact that anyone can even hop on to it switch is beyond me..never mind flip in and slide a bsts across the entire thing. I don’t think anyone will ever top those few days of wreckage at FMP.

    I was lucky enough to witness some of those attempts in person too, I seen him do ssbsts270 and ssbsts bigspin. One of those days was the same day BClarke did the Switch Inward Heel over the grate n pipe. That was a great time in NYC skateboarding. Up until maybe 2008-2010. Then shit got really weak and Nike began their takeover of everything in NYC Skateboarding.

  2. A great time for NYC *and* Long Island. The LI scene was poppin back then cuz we still had Sauce. Miss those days like crazy.

  3. I know he wasn’t being serious, but my point is wax has always been a staple of skating ledges. If we knew about it in Iowa, you certainly knew about it in New York about three decades earlier.

    Even if homey didn’t wax the spot himself, years of kids stealing a candle from their mom’s cabinet so they could try to darkslide across it means that ledge almost certainly had a skate park-tier coefficient of friction.

  4. @Quigon “That was a great time in NYC skateboarding. Up until maybe 2008-2010. Then shit got really weak and Nike began their takeover of everything in NYC Skateboarding.”

    shitttttttt you right

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