Let’s get this thing wrapped up :)
5. Tompkins Finest Chases the Weed Bodega Dream
You’ve no doubt seen every feasible retail space in your neighborhood turn into a weed bodega. Do you live in a residential zone of deep Brooklyn where the nearest grocery store is a fifteen-minute walk? You’re still gonna pass 54 weed bodegas on that walk.
Were we foolish to think of Tompkins Finest as being the exception? Were we so blinded by love and slowly built-up loyalty that we convinced ourselves they were different than all the rest? That they’d forego the astronomical margins on grey-market weed cartridges in exchange for providing the community with delicious, affordable sandwiches and nutritious, fresh smoothies? That they’d ever disconnect the grill? Cancel their Boar’s Head account? Replace them with …the 723rd weed store on that block?
Retail in New York is no place for hopeless romance. They broke our hearts. Or maybe we broke our own for allowing ourselves to believe that they were The One.
4. Pedro Delfino’s Pyramid Ledge Trick
In 2023, there are two ways to approach Pyramid Ledges. You’re either an agile pop lord, hitting the ledge the “wrong” way from street level (think Tyshawn noseblunting up it in Play Dead), or a tech lord, mining the blindspots of a rich A.B.D. scroll for the un-done (think Shanahan’s nosegrind nollie bigspin heel out or Brandon Johnson’s switch front tail 270 front foot flip.)
Pedro Delfino doesn’t readily fit into either category. Hearing about “Pedro Delfino’s Pyramid Ledge trick” before seeing it in “Road to Nowhere” was confusing. Why is Pedro Delfino at Pyramid Ledges and not the 15-foot-high bank by Whitehall?
Whenever they yanked the knob off for this, there must’ve been a lingering thought of, “Wait is this too nuts?” There’s a leftover gash mid-ledge from the knob, a grate where you pop from, and a spiked fence to have mental warfare with — the same issues as the regular Pyramid Ledge! Except nobody had ever gone this fast towards all those variables at once.
Then watch Bronze TV Channel 56 8/17/23 from the 0:33 mark.
Then watch the opening part in HUF’s Forever video.
Then throw on the second-to-last part in Jeff Cecere’s This Is A Window.
Mr. Rizzo tapped into a groove that yielded a nineties skate career’s worth of footage in a five-month span this year. He returned to one-up himself at spots from old parts, carved his name into new ones, made a nollie smith look dope, and not once did anything ever feel like a footage dump. Each section carries a distinct fingerprint, and watching them back-to-back is the best way to appreciate the movie that Dick Rizzo’s 2023 was.
(He’s still got another one in Paul Young’s upcoming video…)
2. Karim in Johnny’s Vid
Everyone has known Karim was the best since he was kickflip front crooking handrails in 5Boro videos ~ten years ago. Except sometimes, things really *click* via collaboration with a certain filmer. It’s not like Cyrus and Max didn’t have parts before the Johnny Wilson videos, but that’s where they really came into their own and started compounding all their talents with each project. And that’s what it felt like happened with Karim’s part in Johnny’s Vid this past summer. Can’t wait to see another five more.
1. The Star Team Shop
Even before so much of New York skateboarding would crystalize around Tompkins, the surrounding neighborhood was a magnet for skateshops: Skate N.Y.C. (open from 1986-1990), Psy Spy which later became ABC, Autumn V.1 and more importantly V.2, Reciprocal B.K.A. the shop made famous by that Waka Flocka video, and even FTC’s newly opened New York outpost.
Kyota Umeki is from a few blocks away, grew up skating Tompkins, and is pushing a brand that he initially concocted out of his childhood bedroom. His shop is next door to the last Autumn location — the shop where many people 10, 15 years his senior came of age hiding out when it was too cold to skate T.F. And that’s a few steps away from the onetime location of Skate N.Y.C. (445 E. 9th), the shop that people 10, 15 years those people’s senior hung out at.
The Star Team Shop is a community center, a local’s stake in a constantly changing neighborhood, and a dream come true for a crew of young skaters who started out doing stuff just for fun — and kept it that way.