As early as the start of this week, one of New Jersey’s finest young athletes issued a P.S.A. regarding the health risks of skating cellar doors. It was the approach that caught Mr. Maserati off-guard on this particular door, but that’s not the only peril involved. Bobby Puleo — another New Jersey athlete who spent much of his career battling these slanted portals to the netherworld — once told skateboarding’s archive of record that, “A lot of people have this perception that those things are ‘easy’ to skate. You hit that lock or that handle, it could be Beth Israel time.”
Beyond the obstacle itself, the fact that they are almost always adjacent to a place of business limits skating to after hours — lest you incur the wrath of a hammer-wielding, out-of-work extra from The Sopranos looking to make you bleed from the head.
Nevertheless, they have been the apples of many skateboarders’ eyes. Jerry Mraz spent the past half-decade scouring every city in this top-right corner of the country for them. In January, he told us, “I didn’t initially plan to do an all door part but then it started happening and I kind of made up my mind to do it. I got started with it in earnest maybe five years ago, and then not too long after that, I realized what a dumb idea it was and how I was shooting myself in the foot by skating something that’s so loud only at night.”
But he pressed ahead for the opening section in Jake Baldini and Matt Andersen’s Rust Belt Trap, a video with a hell-bent preoccupation of not taking the easy way out on pretty much anything: not in the stubborn fixation of skating cellar doors at night, not in the physically welded titles for quite literally every skater in the video (yes, even the guys with one trick), and not in the decision to skate a spot prone to gunfire at nighttime. In an era where so much skate content is lamented as “disposable,” there is a lot to be said about a video where you sense the care for concept within each minute of its runtime.
It is also split up by parts on Jake’s YouTube page.
Previously: An Interview With Jerry Mraz (January 2020)