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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QS1 Behind the Boards: Chapman Skateboards

chapman-wall

Chapman has been producing skateboards for over two decades. This makes them the longest-standing northeastern skateboard company, in addition to one of the few remaining places where you can produce a deck that comes with a “Made in the U.S.A.” emblem. Their Deer Park, NY headquarters doubles as something of an east coast skateboard museum. Everything from the first Zoo decks, Supreme artist series boards that resell for thousands of dollars, to one-offs that were never mass-produced line their walls. If someone started a skate company on the east coast these past twenty years, they probably dealt with Chapman.

We asked Gregg Chapman, one of the company’s founders, to take us on a tour through the building, and share the stories behind a select few of his favorite boards.

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