Hating New Jersey is hating America, because all of America is inside New Jersey. It’s the fourth smallest state, but it has Alpine celebrity mansions reminiscent of Beverly Hills, run-down cities that would fit inside the rust belt, Cape May retiree communities you’d expect in south Florida, a poor man’s Vegas called Atlantic City, overpriced river-view condos not unlike in its neighboring New York, beachside towns where Jersey Shore is very far from exaggerated, politicians that make fictionalized Jersey criminals seem tame, white trash, midgetvilles — and that’s only scratching the surface. Unless you’re making a crack about how confusing the turnpike is, a joke at New Jersey’s expense is a joke at our nation’s expense.
Adam Abada and Zach Baker, two guys who skated from Boston to New York in 2012, followed up “Backstreet Atlas” with a ten-day skate through their home state. “The Backstreet Atlas Guide to New Jersey” premieres at Kinfolk Studios in Brooklyn tomorrow, but until then, here is a quick conversation about their journey.
Is there anything you learned on the skate from Boston to New York that you took into consideration when planning this one?
Zach: We knew how far we could skate in a day, which is about thirty miles.
Adam: There was no worry about whether or not we could do it. Our friend Everett Brown walked from Philadelphia to New York in three days, so that was an inspiration behind this trip.
Z: Yeah, he’s an artist.
Was there always an idea of doing another long distance skate?
Z: The pace of skateboarding long distance is something people respond to in a good way. We got to meet people in a different way than if we were walking or on bikes.
A: Something about telling people you’re skating through piques their attention. People seem more down. They’ve heard of bike trips; you could bike to Philadelphia in a day, so it’s easier for them to understand.
Z: It’s what skateboards were created for. They get you from point A to point B. They’re for traveling, but it’s still hard for people to fathom them being used for that.
A: That’s the thing about skateboards — they make distance real. The way we uncovered places on the Boston trip seemed like a cool thing we could do in a state that we were both from. There was less risk because we both knew New Jersey better than the middle of New England.
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