Rust Belt Trap — An Interview With Jerry Mraz

Intro + Interview By Adam Abada
Headline Photo by Mac Shafer

If you live or skate in New York, chances are you’ve come across Jerry. In the sixteen years since he moved to New York City from Michigan, he has mostly left the warm familiarity of Lower East Side haunts to leave his mark elsewhere. If you haven’t caught him in the streets, you’ve probably skated his well-chronicled concrete work. From patching up must-see-for-visiting-pros spots like the Bronx bank-to-ledge to more meandering locales like the B.Q.E. spot, Jerry’s legacy is clear and present.

He just finished up a video called Rust Belt Trap, which acts as a great visual representation of his philosophy, practice, and craft — and we realized we have never formally spoken to him on QS. Thankfully, Jerry found a slot of time in between picking up 2 x 8’s at the lumber yard to update us on his life and work. (Rust Belt Trap is still due out on Thrasher at some point.)

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You’re from the Midwest but have been in New York for quite a while now. What’s keeping you here?

The fact that there’s something always happening. Even if you stay in and you feel like you’re missing something, that’s cool. A lot of the time, I just decide to stay home and know the whole world is still moving on and I’m fine with that. But when I was stuck in a small town, it was really moving on, and I felt like I was missing it go by.

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Skate Rave @ Vans Space 198

And on a day when the wind-chill brings the temperature down to 12 degrees, we bring you some… good news.

Space 198, the new free, INDOOR Vans park is opening on January 2nd at 198 Randolph Street in Brooklyn. Unlike the belated House of Vans, which was more of an event space inside of a skatepark (and brought out people’s inner savages anytime there was a mid-winter open day there), this park is a community-oriented space built for skateboarding.

It’s going to be open Thursday through Sundays — you just need to to sign up on the website beforehand. And it’s off the Jefferson L stop in Bushwick, making everyone’s life a bit easier than a 20-minute walk through the snow to Greenpoint that we used to do ;)

As they were putting the finishing touches on it, they gave a handful of crews the chance to check out the park last week, and here’s what we came back with. Be nice to Jersey Dave when you see him, because chances are, his phone has not stopped buzzing for the past two weeks.

Filmed by Will Rosenstock, Paul Young, Max Hull, Cristian Berrios & Kyota Umeki.

A Short History of New York’s Longest Lines

Ricky Oyola, godfather of the east coast “filming a line via just skating random shit on the street”-practice, once expounded on his peak skateboard dream: doing a line through Philadelphia’s then-standing City Hall, into the street, up into the Municipal Services building, back down the stairs, across the street, into Love Park, through Love Park, and end at Wawa.

The closest he got on record was a line from the end of City Hall, through the intersection, and into Love Park in Eastern Exposure 2, but it did establish a lingering precedent for connecting spots. Apart from Ricky and that Joey O’Brien Sabotage 4 line where he starts at Love and ends up in the garage beneath it, spot connecting does not have a rich history in Philadelphia.

Or anywhere, really — because doing a line from one spot, through the street, and to another, is fucking hard. There are variables (people, traffic, pebbles, maybe two sets of security, acts of God), and a pressing anxiety of missing the final trick in an already-long line, which gets amplified by the fact that fifteen other things went right up until that point. As you will soon learn, spot connecting is something most people do for the sake of doing it. In the majority of cases, they stick to their safe tricks.

Like Philadelphia, New York is a dense and layered city. Many of its streets are narrow, and depending on where you are, three or four spots could be across from one another. New York never had a “Big Three,” but it does have three different types of benches on four different street corners, and over the years, skateboarders here have kept their third eyes open and far-sighted.

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Only Love Can Do That

Front door of Andre Page’s old office ♥

“You Americans are too serious about the pro board shit, in Europe you just turn the homie pro. Fuck it! It’s not about being ‘pro’ at skating. If you are a sick character, you should be pro!” Chris Milic and Jesse Alba interview Hjalte Halberg for Solo mag, with a resulting transcript that you can read in everyone’s voice inside your head.

Wise words: “Bro, you just skate and put it on the internet.” — Genesis Evans, who practices what he preaches considering he uploaded a a clip of his L.A. trip to the new Sahbabii song within like…24 hours of it being released.

Thrasher has Nick Ferro and Mark Humienik’s Calzone part, YouTube has Mark Wetzel’s Calzone part, and Big Cartel has Calzone DVDs.

One of the most astute eyes for spots out there. Chris Jones’ new part for Free is obviously great. And P.S. Casper Brooker went pro this past weekend. Congrats G.

Mostly park footage, but still heavy on the smiles: Louie Lopez IG remix to some Sade.

If you want to get bummed out, Vice did an article on how the city of Seattle is suing 35th North (the city’s longest standing skate shop) over a D.I.Y. bowl they built in the middle of the woods. Never not saying shout out to Europe in situations like these.

New Jerry Mraz footage in the promo for a new board company called Adult Inc. Guessing there’s ledges at the top of that L.I.E. hill from the old Bronze videos now?

Strobeck has an over two-hour interview with The Nine Club.

Chapter six of Elkin raw tapes is now live.

Dude I don’t even know how many years ago 2017 was, but apparently the Theories guys still want to talk about the best videos from that weird ass year. It’s dope that one of their fave videos was “Theories in Chicago” ;) ♥ My fave was Josh’s Inkwell part.

North interviewed skate photo collage god and frequent Quartersnacks contributor, Requiem For A Screen, in their latest issue, and just published the piece online.

That Sixth Sense era raw footage clip that everyone was re-posting last week actually got uploaded in 2011, but gave us a good excuse to fix a typo in an old post!

The cultural institution known as the Delancey McDonald’s finally reopens today!

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Anthony Davis what the shit.

Quote of the Week: “The only jobs in London are working for i-D or Dazed.” — Sean Kinney

Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope

kingobamamural

YO, massive shout out to the crew, politicians, shops and community in Providence, Rhode Island, on getting an approval to turn an underused corner of their downtown into a full-on block of a skate plaza. Let this be a precedent for cities across the U.S.

Also congrats to the boy Sean Pablo on going pro

“If they didn’t name me Genesis then my dad would have named me Jubilee, from X-Men, who was a girl. That would’ve been very funny. I’m glad they named me Genesis.” Sex mag (sure) has an interview with Genny re: growing up, DANY, etc.

Zered is on Alltimers, and has a new part out to reassure you of his decade-plus status as the east coast’s most productive pro, and the king of the worst spot in Queens ;)

“It’s still the same if I just don’t let myself become too jaded and reclusive. There are still endless possibilities.” Huck has a feature with Jerry Mraz, who they apparently dubbed “The Batman of Skateboarding.”

The ender of Pat Gallaher’s Insano part is insano. Great part :)

Josh Kalis and Mike Blabac talk about the state of the plaza in 2017 + other things, and The Muska reveals what was in his backpack all those years. Get well soon bud.

Antosh and the Canadians have a new one out on TWS.

“We decided to make the game more fun so that’s why it was never a realistic simulation of skateboarding. That was key to the success of the game.” Ironic that the reason maybe 50% of the people now in their late 20s started skateboarding was something intended to be an unrealistic simulation of skateboarding. Jenkem has the oral history of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Keeping a real skate shop open in 2017 is God’s work ♥ Thank you to all who do.

Rodrigo TX skates Three Four Up Three Four Down, T.J. does a bunch of crazy shit, and lol that there’s security standing at the bottom of the bank in every clip ever gotten at the Roosevelt Island Monument in this link to a clip with 54k YouTube views.

Boil the Ocean re: Lil Wayne’s proclamation that skateboarding is a better feeling than sex with an actress while her movie is playing on a screen in the background.

Canal uploaded a 30-min 2016 Year-In-Review compilation of Instagram videos.

A bit of street skating + a Maple tee in Quim and Freddy’s Portland, M.E. visit.

QS Sports Desk Play of the Week: Isaiah is the second funnest player in the NBA.

Quote of the Week: “Only three things are keeping me sane in 2017: cocho, hucking, and the boys.” — John Choi