“I went from being a kid skating on my block to hanging out with all the best skaters in New York City because I learned how to do a frontside 360 boneless.” A friend once had a story about how their book club took a razor to The Powerbroker and sliced it up into three books to make it more reasonable of a read. This isn’t that dramatic, but a blog interview that takes over two hours to read is a lot for most people in the era of byte-sized #content — but we’re *SO* happy that people are putting detailed, rich content on the internet that requires a commitment! Isn’t that what it’s for?! The Slam City Skates blog’s interview with Eli Gesner about skateboarding + graffiti in New York in the 80s, night clubs in the early 90s, the beginnings of Shut + Zoo York, etc. is like a little history book :)
As early as the start of this week, one of New Jersey’s finest young athletes issued a P.S.A. regarding the health risks of skating cellar doors. It was the approach that caught Mr. Maserati off-guard on this particular door, but that’s not the only peril involved. Bobby Puleo — another New Jersey athlete who spent much of his career battling these slanted portals to the netherworld — once told skateboarding’s archive of record that, “A lot of people have this perception that those things are ‘easy’ to skate. You hit that lock or that handle, it could be Beth Israel time.”
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.)
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.
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.
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.