An Interview with Bryan Chin, Creator of Metrospective, the Original New York Skateboarding Website

August 2nd, 2013 | 5:20 am | Features & Interviews | 13 Comments

gsd-jaymaldonado

Big things have small beginnings. Prometheus, bro. Photo by Jay Maldonado.

This piece originally ran in Nike’s “Go Skate Day” ‘zine that was distributed during the accompanying weekend in June. The initial idea was a “History of Go Skate Day,” and there’s really no way to tell that story without it originating at Metrospective, a website that many of the kids skating that weekend likely never even heard of, as it existed mostly from the late nineties until maybe just shy of ten years ago. Quartersnacks, and many local-centric websites have since followed in its footsteps (whether they know it or not), so here is an important chapter of how the skateboard internet began.

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Today, it’s hard to imagine skateboarding without the internet. But in the not-so-distant past, you had to buy VHS tapes to see who-did-what, know someone to find the new secret spot, and hear about events through word of mouth or paper flyers. In the mid-nineties, Bryan Chin began the first New York City skate website as a school project. That site would become Metrospective.com, one of the first great independent skateboard websites. On it, you could wait patiently as your 56k modem loaded an eight-second clip from the Brooklyn Banks, map out a midtown mission if you were a tourist, or see who was who from Sunday’s Newport session (“I was the white guy with the blue hat whose board went into the water.”) The New York skateboard community had an online home where everyone was connected — the kids who never left Brooklyn now heard what happened downtown each weekend. Metrospective became the backbone for the first All City Skate Jam in 2002, a virtually sponsor-less event that sought to mend a skate scene fragmented by 9/11 and all its heightened security, and eventually evolved into what you may now know as “Go Skate Day.”

Where are you from and how did you get into skateboarding?

I was born and raised in Queens. I started skateboarding with my friends from school when I was 13 in the mid-to-late eighties. Skateboarding was much more colorful then, with crew names like the Plaid Fish Tribe. The sickest trick I ever saw was a boneless off the top of a truck or a wallie off a tree trunk.

What was skateboarding like at that time?

I skated with a lot of people, some you probably never heard of like Peter Sarne, Benny Guerra, Paul Moix, Jay Gonzales, Rick Pham, Paul Leung and later the Rodneys [Torres and Cooper], and even later Jay Mallolly, Karim Frezno. Basically all of the Queens locals over time. There would be the OD crew [OD was a skate shop on the west side of Manhattan, near Jacob Javitz Center], the Skate NYC crew [East Village skate shop], the Benji’s crew [Lower East Side skate shop], and we were the Queens crew. Everyone would meet at the Banks and then all the crews would go to Seaport, World Trade and the rest of downtown, then skate up to Astor together around sundown, and then go to midtown from there and break night. The only events back then were the HiBA and Banks contests or occasional demos at Danny’s ride-a-way.

Slow News Week / QS Print Edition

June 21st, 2013 | 12:38 pm | Daily News | 2 Comments

metrospective

Yeah, it was a slow news week. Between non-site work, and something that was supposed to go live yesterday getting canceled, there hasn’t been a lot going on.

As many of you may already know, Nike has taken the reigns with New York’s Go Skate Day these past few years. You also might know that this site has minimal involvement/interest in Go Skate Day each year. However, in conjunction with the “Skate Safari” barge they built for this year’s festivities (Register here, it’s for one weekend only, and actually pretty cool because they remade the small Banks, Pyramid Ledge, etc.), they released a commemorative GSD-themed ‘zine.

In it, we had the chance to interview Bryan Chin, one of the true unsung pioneers of skateboard documentation and media in New York. He ran the first New York skateboarding website, Metrospective.com (which later became OfficialNewYork.com), and started the original “All City Skate Jam” with absolutely zero sponsors. From there, it turned into Go Skate Day / Skate Industry P.R. Day, and you know the rest of the story. It’s good to give someone the credit they have long deserved, because a lot of people even from here forget that the skate jams were initially a Metrospective/ABC Skateshop creation, not a 5Boro one. There’s also a lot of talk about the early incarnation of the skateboard internet, as Bryan was one of the first people to put skate video clips online in the mid-nineties a.k.a. a big influence on this site and every local-based site like it. Grab an issue of the ‘zine if you make it onto the barge park this weekend. Maybe it’ll get posted here one day for people who cannot get the physical ‘zine.

Have a good one. Be back next week with actual updates.

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