If you haven’t been skating for too long, you’d be forgiven if you thought that cities ceding spaces containing D.I.Y. spots over to skaters was a longtime phenomenon. Sure, there are famous precedents (Burnside, et al.), but even in New Jersey, the location of today’s subject, the reality has often gone the other way. Newark’s Shorty’s D.I.Y. and Fred Gall’s Jody’s Spot were both recently torn down in favor of nothing.
Two weekends ago, Montclair, New Jersey had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Rand Park B.K.A. Candy Courts, for the unveiling of eight skateable sculptures designed by known goat, Alexis Sablone. The former tennis courts were a suburban, Tompkins-like spot that people would bring boxes, flatbars and ramps to — there is even a lil’ graveyard off to the side of mini Element flatbars and plastic ramps you get at sporting goods stores. The courts got increasingly popular over the COVID years, and caught the eye of The Skatepark Project, the non-profit you likely know as The Tony Hawk Foundation (the old name.) They flowed the park $25k and Skate Essex, another nonprofit that advocates for skateboarding in North Jersey, provided additional fundraising dollars.
Scholars of New Jersey have observed how the nation’s fourth smallest state serves as a pint-sized overview of the country as a whole, in that it condenses diverse immigrant enclaves, rednecks, dense cities, desolate countrysides, casinos, beaches, and wilderness all into a place you could skate across in a few days if you felt psychotically inclined to do so. It is why it has been able to produce everything from one of the most inescapable sounds in music right now, to an enduringly fascinating fictional crime family, and of course, a bevy of skaters who have shaped their respective generations.
Just as the diversity of the place impacts the deep variety of its people, New Jersey skateboarding seldom submits to one lane of categorization, aptly seen in Steve Mastorelli‘s new video, DON’T ASK ME WHEN — a perfect 2023 addition to the canon of NJ classics from Justin White, Paul Young, Matt Velez, the In Crust We Trust dudes et al.
As was the case with Brendan Gilliam’s “Life Starts Tomorrow” from late-2020, his new one was a bit too nice to leave as a Monday Link.
“Video Brain” picks up where the last edit left off: presenting us this autumnal world where the greys and tans of Queens crust blend seamlessly into spots found throughout suburban industrial parks.
Nick Lane — who, you might remember, 5050’d the perpendicular corner at Brower like it was pool coping in “Life Starts Tomorrow” — remains the star of the show in this one. And that one dude’s front 180 up the four at Reggaeton legit incited one of the biggest smiles at a skate clip this year ❤️
Intro & Interview by Farran Golding
Collages by Requiem For A Screen
Photography by Mike Heikkila
Run Painting by Andrew Durgin-Barnes
In the blink of an eye, we’ve had a decade of Bronze, a homie video series turned brand that reshaped the runtime required to deem a project “full-length.” Quasi transcended their birthright as a successor to Alien Workshop, carved out a singular path, and released two of the best longform productions in recent memory. The moniker “HUF” now covers not only the guy whose video parts defined less is more, but a longstanding brand.
Dick Rizzo – or Richie to those who know him — has in one way or another, intersected with these moments in contemporary skateboarding, which makes it all the more surprising that his story hasn’t been more thoroughly explored.
Congratulations to pro skateboarder, Jesse Alba ♥
Winter 2021 #TRENDWATCH: Human kickflips. A lil’ worried about what this spells for people’s necks if this #trend really starts to take off…
“Hood Motivation” is the latest video from Thumbs NYC, filmed at a lot more tucked-away spots throughout the city and beyond. Features parts from Olu Stanley (that switch hardflip on the diamond-plate bank!), Angel Fonseca, and others.
Village Psychic presents “The Prospect Video,” a six-minute, second-half-of-2020 edit by Derek Heydle, that is effectively “Night Lines at BAM: The Video.”