Favorite Spot with Stu Kirst on the Grey Wall

🔑 Interview, Intro & Edit by Farran Golding
📹 Footage courtesy of Johnny Wilson
📷 Photography by Paul Coots

Water Street and its peripheries in New York’s financial district, offer a handful of conventionally “good” skateboarding destinations. Head towards Battery Park and you may see someone giving security the slip at C-Benches or a visiting pro on a pilgrimage at Pyramid Ledges. However, between 2015 to 2020, one might have have found Stu Kirst atop a skinny, eight-feet high platform, sizing up a route obliquely hidden in plain sight.

In an office plaza, a steep grey wall looms over over three granite benches (which anyone in their right mind would prefer to skate.) Stu’s first attempt to roll into it was captured by Johnny Wilson circa 2015 (also seen briefly in The DANY Video), and became a five-year long ordeal, spanning Stu’s early twenties, before he put it to rest in John’s Vid.

There’s an ironic underwriting to the “Favorite Spot” series in that it documents sites of suffering — as much as beloved places — for the skaters featured. The latest chapter embraces that notion in the most literal sense as Stu reflects on the years he spent on Water Street, above sea level.

Regular visitors to QS might remember a brief recap of Stu’s saga following the wall being blocked off by a bike rack in 2021. And at the end of 2023, a photo of Stu’s roll-in shot by Paul Coots resurfaced as his introductory ad for Baker Skateboards, almost eight years after first trying the trick and nearly four after he finally made it. Now accustomed to “standing on the edge of time,” Stu also spoke about the circularity of the Water Street roll-in regarding his recent career move.

Stu Kirst on his Baker Ad & the Water Street Roll-In

I probably prayed up there before the one I landed, honestly.

I tried it when I was 20, I landed it when I was 25, and now I’m 28. You’ve seen it, we’re talking about it, and it has been eight years. Almost a decade of this fucking wall.

When I did it, we were excited in our little bubble. I never wanted to go there again. Now, I think it’s funny because its still going, somehow. It took five years of my life to do it, then I kind of forgot about it once I had. I wasn’t expecting people to feel the way it seemed they did on the internet about me making it. That was gratifying.

When bike racks got put at the bottom, that reignited some “lore” of me doing it. I think that’s everyone’s dream, right? If you do something [hard] you want the spot to be gone. I guess it felt like a small victory. That’s also when this became “more,” I feel. Until then, it was just another trick in a video. I could be wrong, but when the spot ceased to exist, that’s when the photo got shared a bunch and, at least to me, it became this “thing.”

I was supposed to get a [Baker] ad and I had recent photos I thought were going to be used. Andrew [Reynolds] asked me who shot the roll-in, so I sent him [Paul] Coots’ info. He sent me a mock up and it felt bizarre that something I tried to do that long ago, and then had done – at this point – a long time ago, was going to be in a magazine now.

Andrew was like, “That photo is so good. I think it deserves to be an ad.” I was very flattered by that. At this point, I hope people don’t see this video and are like, “Oh my God, again. This guy with the Wall…”

Previous Favorite Spots: Dom Henry on Fairfield Halls, Lucien Clarke on Victoria Benches, Cyrus Bennett on The Sombrero, Andrew Allen on L.A. High, Max Palmer on the Canal Fountain, Dick Rizzo on Grants Tomb, Anthony Van Engelen on the Green Bench, Hjalte Halberg on Jarmers, Gilbert Crockett on Sun Trust & Downtown Richmond


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