The more things change, the more they stay the same. Let’s keep this one rolling…
15. The Demise of the Greenpoint Bar-Muda Triangle
A wise man once observed that, “Before Tinder, there was Enid’s.”
Faced with the reality that young people are now turning to technology to discover STDs, Enid’s closed its doors for good this past April. With Matchless and No Name already shuttered, this ended a reign that began in the mid-2000s, when this bar anchored Brooklyn’s Bar-Muda Triangle of lies about skate sessions the next day, and truths about clinic visits the next week.
14. Times Square Unlocked
Times Square is obvs a horrible place to spend your free time but skate footage from there looks incredible • Dustin Partridge in the new Deep Fried video on Thrasher pic.twitter.com/WKjNK4bbvB
— Quartersnacks (@quartersnacks) October 10, 2019
Times Square is a hellscape that anyone with a brain goes blocks out of their way to avoid — the crowds, the cops, the time travelers from 2005 hawking hard copies of their mixtape for $10, and the Marvel characters can all be a bit much. Forced to pass through though, any skater has no doubt noticed the black marble slabs between the chaos, installed during a 2015 renovation.
You’d see sprinkles of people heisting their way into getting a clip here since the spot was built, but 2019 was when people really started going for it at the tail end of a midtown session, with the emptiest possible rendition of Times Square making it into both local and visitors’ videos.
13. Level Down At Pyramid Ledges
For a spot that has been skated for a quarter of a century, how much was really left to do at Pyramid Ledges? Go up it? Done. Pay homage to Gino’s choreography from 1999? Sure. The best nollie backside noseblunt ever? Yeah. A social-media based best trick contest? Got it.
12. The Beautiful Simplicity of a “Skate Clip”
Skate videos feel like they exist at polar opposite ends of secrecy: either it’s a longform slog to the completion of a full-length, or it’s dumped on social right away. It almost feels like there isn’t a “place” to simply release a montage for the sake of doing it; it feels so…first half of this decade.
Johnny’s surprise single Vimeo upload this year wasn’t shocking because he had never done it before, but because it felt like something he always used to do. No build-up, no hype — here is a bunch of really well curated, tightly cut, thought-through skate footage for five minutes that is being released without the intention of promoting anything. Oh, and it starts with a part from the guy whose skating speaks volumes on the power of less being more.
11. Kader @ “Joey’s Sculpture”
Every town, be it big or small, has the spot that you forget about. It’s not because it sucks. No, quite the opposite: it’s just a major, immediate, colossal bust. Like, no chance, not even Christmas Day with security on strike. Some scab will probably be guarding it.
This rail was that. Skated past for decades, to the point where it was immortalized in a video game before any actual skate video. Kader being the first to boardslide this one was a 2019 update of the Wayne Gretzkey, Michael Jordan or Michael Scott quote about missing 100% of the shots you don’t take.
10. A Southern California Picnic Grows in Brooklyn
It’s 2010. You’re flipping through a skate magazine, of which there are still many. In it, you see Alex Olson. He is riding a Girl skateboard, wearing an American football jersey, and ollieing a California picnic bench the long way. You show it to your friend. “Whoa! That’s gnarly!” he says. He turns his face back into his BlackBerry phone.
A little bird wearing shrunken Fila Disruptor sneakers lands on your shoulder. She whispers into your ear that nine years from the day, the most popular song of the year — wait, no, the most popular song of all time — will be a country song by a rapper with the same name as the Illmatic guy, with a Nine Inch Nails sample, and a guest verse from the “Party in the U.S.A” girl’s dad.
“Fuck off!” you yell, swatting her away.
“Oh yeah?” she shouts back. “Well, a skater from The Bronx will be doing longways kickflips over a California picnic table just a few blocks from the Lorimer J train, too, you fucking asshole!” She flies off into the sky, shitting on the back of your beanie.
9. The Homies Video
A QS commenter dubbed The Homies Video as, “the Photosynthesis of zillenial, friends-of-the-shop videos.” Most of the people in it were born after that video had been released, thus after any would-be “golden age” of skateboard videos that you’ve heard some old guy on the park complaining about.
But look at the attention to detail, the sincerity with which they speak about their process, and the structure of their final product — it feels in every way a part of the traditional lineage of skate videos. Hopefully, this next decade, everyone can stop predicting the death of the full-length, because people who have been alive shorter than thousands of those orange VHS tapes are invested in creating special things like this.
8. Buggy Enters The Switch Hardflip Hall of Fame
Given the cult following that the switch hardflip has amassed over the past few years, it’s easier than ever to @ the Report™ for accreditation. It’s an entirely different objective to re-do and ramp up the only manual trick in Guy Mariano’s Mouse part, especially at a spot that everyone else in the city had spent the year getting kicked out of in under five minutes.
Not since the year that Four Loko made its summer debut had something so insidious taken ahold of the drinking culture in New York skateboarding. White Claw arrived with an array of colorful cans resembling sodas, marketing that presented a refreshing alternative to the heaviness of beer, and an undefeated win-streak against claims of “whoa how the fuck did I get so drunk?” Whether you drank them or not, Claws added a mischievous sub-plot to the biggest open secret of DeBlasio’s New York: that you can kinda sometimes sorta drink outside now, provided that you aren’t a dick about it.
6. Exit Stage Left At Lenox Ledges
In 2010, we took the Nike team to Lenox Ledges, deeming it was one of our best ledge spots. It proved too rickety for their well-traveled wheels; only a young, hungry Younes Armani got a clip there.
We were offended. “Lenox?! This place isn’t even that rough!”
Over the course of the 2010s, new ledges came and went, Lenox got a bit rounded + its planters got more dug out and dangerous. The ground then succumbed to the inevitabilities of erosion. We found ourselves seeing their point by ~2016-2017, and going there less. It’s great, but it’s hard.
Mark Suciu — author of the year’s most storied video part — didn’t see their point. Instead, he found it an adequate stage for the much speculated on Ender™ to “Verso,” rebranding the spot, which had otherwise mostly been known for mid-part filler lines, as last trick worthy.
Bonus Rapidfire Mini 5
“Didn’t See This Coming, But Thanks”-Award: The “secular press” shading the city in any story they write about them jamming up skaters, e.g. The New York Times‘ quotation marks around “real New York City tradition” about corporate-sponsored Little Leagues needing Tompkins over its end-users, or Gothamist’s side-eye about city worker placard abuse at Borough Hall in the story about them skateproofing it.
Secular Press Skate Piece of the Year: “King of Pop” by Willy Staley
The Do Better in 2020 Award: Don’t drop your board in the tracks, please. As if the G train wasn’t bad enough…
The Dystopia They Warned You About Award: A luxury condo with a mini ramp as an amenity…
Skate Meme of the Year:
when your crew is first to wax a ledge pic.twitter.com/0LDPoWRi8d
— ryley b (@ryley_b) May 27, 2019