Upstate Update: Ithaca, Rochester & Buffalo


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

The western half of New York state has a handful of cities that are just over an hour drive from one another. This includes Buffalo and Rochester, the second and third largest in the state.

The first stop was Ithaca, home of the westernmost Ivy League school and birthplace of the Tornado Spin — the subject of skateboarding’s first viral video. You really gain an understanding for how seldom-seen these cities are when a three-year-old / minute-and-a-half-long Jake Johnson Brick Harbor part is repeatedly brought up as the only reference point for the locals showing you spots.

After an Orvis catalog shoot and some cliff jumping, the spent the first night at the cement wave with white bulbs that Jake skates in said part. We managed to avoid Cornell cops that night, but didn’t get so lucky the next day, when we went back to skate a building funded by college drop-out, Bill Gates. Happy to say I’m writing this on a Macbook, because our short stint at Bill and Melinda Gates Hall resulted in a one-year ban from Cornell University property.


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

“You’re going to Rochester? There are flatbars everywhere.”

At least six thousand people told me there are flatbars all over Rochester. They weren’t lying. There are flatbars all over Rochester. Can’t figure out why the city planners have such an affinity for round, one-to-two-foot-high flat rails, but they’re literally everywhere you look in the city. Google tries to get you drunk if you ask about it. No wonder everyone upstate is hammered all the time ;)

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 3.56.19 PM

Rochester is probably the second best skate city in New York, following the home of the T.F. If you throw enough flatbars around, you’re bound to create some interesting set-ups that can’t easily be found elsewhere. Getting fifteen seconds of Rochester footage that didn’t include a flatbar was impressive.

By the time we rolled into Buffalo, everyone was burnt.


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

It also didn’t help that every spot you get taken to includes a five-to-ten trick list of everything Jake Donelly has done there, or that every Buffalo ex-pat living in Brooklyn texts you five-to-ten heathenous places to get wings and greasy sandwiches when they find out you’re visiting.

Trip turned out great though. Can’t stress enough that upstate is a solid alternative for any car trip originating from New York, especially if you’re bored of doing the same old New York -> Providence -> Boston or New York -> Philly -> D.C. route that everyone does. Get off I-95 for once.

Thanks to Homegrown Skateshop, Krudco and Sunday.

Throwaways from the second leg of the journey below. Big final video live in a week or so. Features Nick Boserio, Hjalte Halberg, Max Palmer, Cyrus Bennett, Antonio Durao, Johnny Wilson and Andrew Wilson. Video by Johnny Wilson.

Alternate YouTube Link


  1. Southie’ s part in PJ Ladd’s Wonderful Horrible Life > Mooney’s in Lurker’s 3

Comments are closed.