Last month of 2020. Pour yourself a drink.
Let’s get this show on the road ♥
Last Year: The 2019 Year in Review
25. Riverside 2.0
Photo by Daniel Weiss
As sure as the sun sets over the Hudson River every night, the opening of a new skatepark during this boomtime for park construction meant there was an orchestra of complaints from pretty much everyone. Maybe we were just worn out by the actual problems that coincide with life in 2020, but Riverside’s completion at the start of the summer was a rare anomaly in that pretty much everyone you talked to was …happy with it?
Sure, it’s confusing that park designers can look at the two longest ledges in a park and say, “Hmmm, maybe let’s make those curved?” but who really has the time to nitpick anymore.
24. The Guiding Spirit of ‘Twuan in ’07
The ghost of Indoor Ten looms large over our culture. For those who came of age during the Bush years or Obama’s first term, a clip down Indoor Ten (this is where slams counted for as much as makes) was a more significant adolescent milestone than even losing one’s virginity.
Many filmers utilized the downtime afforded by the pandemic to go through old tapes, but Mike Poore’s post of these 2007 Indoor Ten tricks from none other than Antwuan Dixon provided the brightest guiding light during the lockdown’s grimmest days.
23. Au Revoir, China Chalet
Jokes about dating skaters haven’t evolved much in the past ~five years. If you’ve heard one mattress-on-the-floor, eleven roommates, griptape-for-toilet-paper, “brought me back to his place to watch a skate video”-bit, you’ve heard them all. The only reprieve was truly when someone posted a picture of the coat check at China Chalet with a bunch of numbered boards stacked against the wall. A personal favorite was “get a car, losers.”
(For the record, the highest number of documented skateboards in coat check was 109.)
With its smoky doors closing for good in July, skateboarders lost their final refuge for a low-cost Manhattan video premiere, and the people who date them lost a well of material for roasting them. Our lungs will be better off for it.
And on that note…
22. White Sheet Premieres
With video premieres deemed unwelcome at many downtown cinemas, skateboarders were already facing a cultural landscape without movie theaters long before coronavirus decimated the industry itself. Even if 2020 was a “regular” year, we still would’ve been been stuck with a projector, hanging up sheets on the fence at Tompkins (Jolie Rouge) or playing them on a handball court (Lou’s “Blue Flowers” premiere), because no venue wanted to deal with us anymore.
21. The Bowery & Lafayette Paving Spree
Perhaps not the monumental, culture-shifting event that the city repaving Avenue A in 2017 was, but Bowery and the southern half of Lafayette were useless skate routes for the better part of the past ten years. The freshly paved strip on the west side of Trendy Triangle also happened to yield a marble curb spot dead in the middle of Soho — on a street closed off for outdoor dining, at that — and if you’re a wide trucks rider, the cobblestones sound like pool-coping ;)
A few blocks downhill from the curb and to the left…
20. The Rebirth of the State Building Ledges
Josh Velez via “Quaranteam” Part
There was never a greater recipient of “if only the ground was good…” wishful thinking. They don’t make ledges like these anymore; they’re old world rock that literally no developer uses on a new plazas. They appeared in their share of nineties videos, but in the ensuing decades, the ground was such utter horrendous shit that only a few stubborn souls tried their luck with them — which is saying a lot considering they are a block away from a famous cobblestone bank spot.
The new ground isn’t *good*, but it’s New York Good™, and for now, that’s good enough.
19. The Blubba Bump
Zered Bassett via Instagram
Get stuck long enough watching your homie try a trick that six people from six different continents have already done at the most getting-stuck-prone spot in New York, and eventually, you’ll realize any place could be Love Park in 1999 if you use your imagination.
18. The Return of the Revel
Revels were like the 4Loko of transportation. When they made it into Manhttan this spring, shit got loose. There’s only so many times you can fly through a red light going the wrong way (saw a dude do that holding a Heineken once) before they reel it in.
In late July, following two fatal accidents, New York shut them down. They came back in early fall with a bit of the edges shaved off, but whether their first formula lives in infamy is a tale that will be told in the ensuing years. For now, you’re still good to tow your homie in on an uphill bump-to-bar faster than the max-out 19mph you otherwise got from an electric Citibike ;)
17. A City With No Hoops
This past spring, when the Parks Department was ordered to remove the rims from every backboard in the city as a social distancing measure, was an acceleration of the fact that skaters were already outnumbering ballplayers in the 2010s.
With the city’s ballcourts empty and skateparks locked up, every decent-enough ledge spot on the inside perimeter of a court became a safe haven for skateboarders in April, May and June — who otherwise had to time their sessions alongside morning hours and cooler days to avoid ballers. Those two-and-a-half months of having the them to ourselves was like putting the city’s ledge skaters in a hyperbolic time chamber.
16. Keyhole Kickflips
Nick Hall via DoulbesLTD’s “New Mess” video
Hiroki Muraoka via Traffic Third Shift part
Last year was a monumental time for kickflips. Milton’s at the carwash was as iconic they get. Tyshawn’s the long-way over the table at Blue Park had a crowd reaction that you can’t help but to keep replaying and smiling at. Jordan’s over the can was 10/10 in its form.
Maybe this year didn’t have *that* kickflip, but it did have lunatics spinning their boards through keyholes, off narrow-landings and onto them, giving the trick the absurd 2020 plot-twist that it deserved.
Bonus Mini Rapidfire 5
Expanding Brain Award: Making people rap Travis Scott songs over the phone in order to be entered into the raffle for a pair of Travis Scott SBs.
Most Honest Day in the Life Video: Zered goes to Jersey With the Berrics
Biggest Glo Up: Lucien Clarke to LV from Supra.
Shortest Lived Spot: This Water Street Liquid Nail fail that lasted ~18 minutes.
S.O.T.Y. (Schadenfreude of the Year): “A California City Filled Its Skatepark With Sand To Deter Skateboarders. Then The Dirt Bikes Showed Up.”