2019 was a year where the the past was rousted up to contend with the future — we listened to new Max B off a DatPiff stream while acknowledging that our existence rests at the mercy of rats plotting a takeover of mankind. Jeremy Lin became an NBA champion, the Knicks lost the lottery, and the gods just laughed and laughed.
Here are the developments that loosely defined the past 12 months in New York skateboarding.
25. Champagne Solutions For Champagne Problems
It’s easy to look at New York (or any place one might visit) through rose-colored glasses. As a visitor, all you see is skate spots, hot people, and pizza.
In reality? We’re all just trying to make fire with two sticks to pay rent for a place with bad light, a bathroom that needs to be re-grouted, and four — wait, Tom’s girlfriend just moved into his room with him — five roommates. Our mental health is teetering on the brink of whether or not the F train home is running on the right track. You think we’re going to go try and wax, let alone BREAK IN…a new, concrete ledge? Or…take the train to The Bronx to find a…new spot? Yaaaaa, okaaaaay ;)
24. Curbs Dip Below the Surface
(Gif via Mostly Skateboarding)
And on that note: given the rampant wage stagnation afflicting the United States, literally who has the fucking energy/time/will to ollie up into a ledge? This year, with the help of a lot of wax, we let the cut-outs in the sidewalk do all the work for us, even if it was to the chagrin of our distant observer colleagues.
23. The Bushwick Bump
One day, you’re a young lady dating a guy who doesn’t really get a chance to get out there and skate anymore. Next, a tree stump props up a sidewalk tile in front of your apartment. That following morning? That guy tells a couple friends who do get a chance to skate, “Hey, new spot.” They skate it, a video gets posted, and then there’s five hundred dudes with skateboards in front of your apartment discussing what tricks have gone down, and asking for your hand in marriage. What a difference a day makes.
This bump was a microcosm for how fast things spiral out of control in our interconnected age.
22. Tom Knox’s Mini Marathon
With CBS and Paine Webber effectively more of a go than they have been this entire decade, Tom Knox is no doubt the one to bring the “maybe someone some day” nerdy line idea of connecting the two spots into fruition. Maybe next time there’s an Atlantic Drift New York trip ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
21. Our Emotional Wounds From Clarkson Street Begin To Fade
You couldn’t help but feel a sense of schadenfreude skating past the spot formerly known as “Stripper Ledge,” and seeing it covered in rubble.
The worst ones live the longest. Not only was it one of New York’s worst ledges, it had outlived the Westway by four years. Post-2015, contending with this true piece of shit also required that you to confront the ghosts of all the horrible things you had seen and done at the club across the street — even if the building that housed them had been replaced by a luxury high rise.
Losing a skate spot is never good. Losing this one was collateral damage in helping to forget the 2013 night that took a week of your life away from you.
20. The Soho FedEx Cart Guy’s Debut Part
Anyone who has ever walked through Soho has seen this FedEx dude ripping down Lafayette on his handtruck. You rush to get it on video, but nah, he’s already over the horizon, out of view from your iPhone 6 being held together by WeedMaps stickers. Sure, the handtruck might look like more of a scooter in terms of mechanics, except he carries himself with the spirit of a skater.
In a true gesture of solidarity among us extreme athletes, LurkNYC tracked him down for a cameo this summer. It left us to wonder if he’s like the Keith Denley of the handtruck world, and going to go down as one of those O.G. legends who never had much footage.
19. Volcom’s Airbnb Edit
In the future, corporations will get more creative, more cunning, more subversive in their advertising. A Red Bull hat or a Monster Energy face tat will simply not be enough. They are going to come after our most sacred summer tradition. Yes, “Summer Trip to New York” edits.
I don’t know if Volcom partnered with Airbnb for this video, but I do know that they really liked staying in an Airbnb. Staying in an Airbnb was better than a hotel. Hey, not everything goes right with an Airbnb, but an Airbnb is the best. They really liked using Airbnb. Hey, guess what? Airbnb.
Also! We are proud to announce that we will be partnering with Airbnb next summer to offer a range of carting experiences for skate crews throughout the five boroughs, New Jersey, and even Yonkers!
18. “Beach Genius”
Why buy a plane ticket when you can stay home? 2019’s most original trip edit happened right here in city limits. In “Beach Genius,” Thom Musso expanded on everyone’s June/July/August routine of hitting a skatepark for 30 minutes before the beach. The crew avoided every single Rockaway skatepark (save one clip), and scoured the peninsula for anything the slightest bit skateable for an entire summer, while Phil Rodriguez somehow lofted a kickflip off of and back into one of the Shorefront Parkway bus shelters.
17. Prada Short Shawty
Within the zodiac of memeable New York characters, the caucasian male wearing shorts, sandals and drinking ice coffee when it’s 15 degrees out sits a few months away from the “deadass my guy” Timbs dude. At first, that’s what it looked like Blondey was going for while skating around Manhattan with Shawn Powers, exposed shins in the winter and all. Then, we noticed the Prada label.
Harry Winston once said “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” $700 shorts when the air is cold enough to see your breath have a way of doing that. “Serenity Now” confirmed that the “What if the 2019 Trend™ is simply skating in really expensive shit?”-prediction was on the right track.
16. Jordan’s Kickflip
The attention economy is rough for a kickflip in 2019. Either you’re doing one into a bank that quite literally every sponsored skater has passed and been like “nah,” or hucking one longways over an object that people had otherwise spent two decades skating the perpendicular way. Those are blockbuster kickflips. Even laypeople get those.
Jordan’s was subtler, quieter, done without a studio audience or an accompanying media team. It was independent, and very much in the lineage of Josh Kalis’ 1999 magnum opus. We pride ourselves on covering indie kickflips, but have been living in great shame for our under-reportage of this one upon its release. If there was a Spirit Award for best kickflip, this is 2019’s winner.
#spotcheck of the Year: Antonio v.s. a toilet
Consolation Prize of the Year: The bike lanes might be fucked for skateboard wheels, but at least there’s now a marble strip between the cobblestones in the Meatpacking District, so you can get to the club with ease.
Ageless Award: Obviously Reynolds in in contention for Baker 4, and Chico/Zered/Kalis re-did the same tricks as their younger selves this year, but we are going to give it to the fakie hardflip switch crooking, approaching mid-40s Daniel Lebron.
Best Enesemble Hair in a Skate Clip: Vans in Mallorca
Clip Name of the Year: “it’s not a fridge it’s a fucking club“