The Upper West Side Curb Club — An Interview with Greg Navarro

Soldiers & Sailors Monument, 1979. Photo by Nathan Tweti

Intro & Interview By Tom Ianelli
Photos by Greg Navarro, Daniel Weiss & Matt Weber

When a kid first picks up a board, their perspective on skating is inherently limited. It is a moment in which all skating is usually represented by the neighborhood spot — be it a driveway, parking lot, or skatepark — and the people found at that spot. The years pass, and skate culture opens up as one watches videos and travels further away from home, but there is a purity to that initial perspective, when skating, and one’s burgeoning love for it, is narrowly embodied by that singular spot.

Filmed entirely at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Greg Navarro’s “The Upper West Side Curb Club,” is a skate filmer’s loving tribute to the spot he grew up skating.

Rarely seen in videos, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, or just “The Monument,” is made up of a few curbs, canons and some “ledges,” that are tucked up in a park on 87th and Riverside, secluded from the shinier skate hubs of New York. With a cast of locals hitting every inch of the park, making spots out of the crust available, Greg’s video is reminiscent of simpler days spent trying to find new possibility in obstacles that have already taught you everything you know about skating. “Upper West Side Curb Club” is not limited by this nostalgic simplicity: the video is evidence that a spot’s value is determined primarily by the devotion and creativity of the skaters who hang out there.

I sat down with Greg at the new Andy Kessler skatepark on 108 to talk about the video and The Monument.

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‘A Certain Amount Of Suffering’ — An Interview With Anthony Van Engelen

Interview by Farran Golding
Collages by Requiem For A Screen
Original Photography by Anthony Acosta

The amount of people who have been able to pull off skate careers spanning over two decades is low. And in the skateboard-content-creation biz, we often fall on this assumption that these skaters have answered all the questions already, e.g. what can you truly unpack that Chromeball hasn’t?

But that’s false. Because the reason this group has been able to endure through the years is their prolific adaptability. The perspective of someone at the start of their third decade of a skate career is even different than it was when they were headed toward the latter half of decade two.

With A.V.E. on the horn for the “Favorite Spot” segment (thanks everybody for the kind feedback, by the way), not digging a bit deeper felt like a missed opportunity. Farran spoke to him on where his perspective on this thing called “professional skateboarding” stands today, entrenched in the third decade of doing it.

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Five Favorite Parts With Una Farrar

Intro + Interview by Farran Golding
Collage by Requiem For A Screen
Skate Photo by Norma Ibarra
Portrait by Kane Ocean

For a format so straightforward, it’s interesting how many approaches to “Five Favorite Parts” have developed over the course of the series. However, the exercise is perhaps at its purest when (aside from a couple of clearly informed tricks) it conjures up a seemingly disparate list of skaters of which the interviewee is the only through-line – which is where we landed with Credits’ opening act and affable cannonball-er, Una Farrar.

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Dreamer — An Interview With Jahmal Williams

Intro & Interview by Adam Abada
Collages by Requiem For A Screen
Original Photos by Cole Giordano & Pep Kim

Jahmal Williams is as humble as he is effortlessly flowing on his skateboard. He is someone with thoughtful personal aesthetics that you could never mistake for pretension. That translates into his effects on skate culture — one that he has been a part of for many decades now. A painter, sculptor and connoisseur of 180 nosegrinds, Jahmal is also a father and runs his own cult favorite brand, Hopps.

“Keep It Moving” isn’t only Hopps’ slogan, but a philosophy that keeps Jahmal relevant and creating great work. With a mind and personal history that exemplifies striking while the iron is hot, Jahmal’s new mural and accompanying short is the type of pandemic-era work that reveals how constantly evolving he is.

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The Age of the COVIDeo — An Interview With Jon Colyer About ‘Sanitizer’

Interview by Adam Abada
Original Photos by Jason Miller & Adam Concannon

The COVID age has coincided with a boom in local skate videography. The past year has given us incredible, fully-realized projects from places like Dallas, Pittsburgh, the eastern half of Connecticut — there were two full-length Seattle videos in the same week last year.

It’s not that these places wouldn’t have been producing great videos if not for the pandemic, just that through some combination of unemployment, no travel diluting the local color of the footage, and the time to take second and third looks at spots that have been passed on before gave the last year’s crop of hometown videos a sharper vision than ever before.

Jon Colyer‘s Sanitizer was one of those projects. Portland is a place with no shortage of skateboard mythology — and while there are influences from Dane Brady, Matt Beach, and the D.I.Y. culture that the city is know for, the video felt out of left field, stacked with skaters you likely never heard of, and spots you have never seen.

We had Adam track down its creator to talk about how Sanitizer came to be.

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