Jamal Smith turning pro is the perfect feel-good Christmas movie to close out the 2010s. Congrats to a Q.S.S.O.T.Y. alumn, and thank you Jamal for being an inspiration to us all for so long ♥
5. This Thing
Not every Tompkins obstacle will go on to live forever in the hearts of men, women and children.
But there’s no wrong in a quick fling to get your mojo back once the weather heats up. This wallie-able wooden ledge thing that was maybe once a piece of furniture resembled nothing in the natural world of New York skate spots. It was the shit version of some perfect cut European marble slab (or maybe the ledge at the top of the bank at Southbank), and it was enough to incite Tompkins visits from people who are otherwise offended by the idea of spending any part of their day off there.
4. “Day One Homies”
Blair came into existence this year. It’s nice that Genny, Nico, and (formerly) Tucker found a vehicle of expression that they could share with their friends and the intraweb as a whole, but what is even more satisfying is that their band is actually good. Aggressive rock and/or roll doesn’t call for technical skill as much as unabashed honesty. With the sparse three-song record they put out in March, that’s exactly what we got: cathartic shoe-gaze with a keytar played by cool-looking people.
It gave Homies Network & Logan safe passage through the hellscape that is picking music for skate videos. They were able to edit to music that spoke to and for them and their people, made by their people, for free. What’s more is that it has given a demographic of young people — sk9er or not — license and motivation to access heavy, New York-based, emotionally-driven music in a time when we all could really use it. Blair reinforced to us all that it’s cool to feel pissed, to feel bummed, and feel strongly about love. Or whatever. — Zach Baker
3. The Encore To The Encore
Look, we’ve all skated two lifetimes’ worth of empty asphalt courts. We have even sometimes shared those courts with people who are really, really good at skating said courts. If you told us even three years ago that someone would be taking the entire genre of skating over California picnic tables, and re-interpreting it on New York City trash cans — which are getting taller, by the way — we would’ve said that there was no indication out in those courts that skateboarding was near that.
First it was a fakie ollie in 2017, then a nollie flip in 2018, and eventually, summer 2019 just felt like you were tuning into a weekly TV show to see what crazy shit T.J. did over an upright can at T.F. West.
2. The Gang Corp Premiere
This city has been a great place to premiere skate videos over these past ten years. The Bronze videos and Johnny’s Beef Patty/Paych/Horny run were non-stop screaming. The “cherry” premiere had a curious giddiness, where the entire theater had no idea what to expect. Static IV managed to keep its secrets so under wraps that surprise names flashing onscreen came like plot twists.
But the Black Business premiere — which began with an hour-and-a-half mosh pit at the center of the space, totally at the command of the opening DJ — was something else. It almost felt like the skate version seeing a buzzing, new artist live for the first time. There was a palpable sense of witnessing the early stages of something special, and a camaraderie with all those around you who felt it, even among us olds standing in the back.
1. Saved Tompkins Day
Video by Emilio Cuilan & Adam Zhu
The call came at about 5 P.M. on a Friday. At 1 P.M. the next day, a rally was scheduled at Tompkins Square Park to show the city that the community overwhelmingly opposes a plan to install turf over the asphalt at T.F.
“They’re not doing it.”
“Yeah. It’s called off.”
No second meeting, no “we need to turf half of it,” no alternate plan that needs to be voted on, potentially drawing out the process for months.
33,000 signatures on Adam’s petition petition meant 33,000 people received a notification that there was going to be a rally for the cause. There were hundreds of reposts, a dozen different D.I.Y. flyers, and anyone you passed, even the “I don’t skate anymore, but I’ll see you Saturday!”-crowd, was coming to support. The councilwoman for the district was on the skaters’ side. Skateboarding won that day, proving that we all have the power to make a tiny positive mark somewhere on this messy earth.
A few of us chipped in on a ticket to fly Billy Rohan up, so he could commandeer the small megaphone for the rally. He was waiting for his flight at the airport in Gainesville when the news broke.
“Billy, it’s called off. You’re flying up for a party now.”
September 7 became the de facto Tompkins Square Park reunion day, and we’ll all remember it for the rest of our lives.