Just like the eye-catching blue ground at the globe, it was hard to remember where I first noticed Marcello Campanello’s skating. His movements tempt me to use descriptors often left to non-skateboarding journalists: whirling, spinning, twisting, leaping. I noticed him in local projects, namely: Canal videos, and then saw him popping up in Diego Donival’s project Goodily. With the help of Instagram, I knew he was an Astoria Park staple, but I didn’t know much else. It wasn’t surprising, though, when he surfaced on Karl Watson’s Maxallure board brand. Now, designing graphics for Maxallure and with a stockpile of clips, is as good a time as any to find out more.
August 18th, 2016 · 6:07 pmComments Off on #CourtUpdate
Since the early 2000s, skateboarding in New York has been forcefully pushed out of marble bench-lined public spaces and into fenced-in basketball courts — so much that we began to overtake the ballplayers themselves. As we’ve now been pushed into skateparks throughout this past decade, even the courts are becoming a novelty.
Vernon-Jackson has long been one of the best spots in the city that everyone would always forget about. Strained for ideas on where to go skate at 2 on a Wednesday and sensing the “ok fuck it let’s do nothing”-point of 4 P.M. closing in, there has seldom been a resistant voice to taking the twenty-minute train ride from downtown to skate an straight fucking ledge that you don’t get kicked of, one stop into Queens.
Vernon-Jackson isn’t gone, but those pink [straight fucking] ledges that are becoming an endangered species are, and the rub-bricked concrete ledge behind the basketball hoop is a big question mark. The iconic little kid spot — the frontside-for-regular metal bench over the ledge — remains and will slowly fade into obscurity as kids begin skating ten-stair handrails ten months into skateboarding. May we forever remember the pink ledges as being home to one of the most low impact moments of Chris Cole’s high impact career as a pre-gothic skateboarder.
On another note, the absolute worst spot to emerge from the 2000s court-ization of New York skateboarding and one of the worst ledges in city limits may potentially never see the light of 2017.
The Jackson Playground ledge was a surefire sign that your attempt at skateboarding in a given day was a complete failure. You didn’t even make it to Columbus Park. You opted to spend a precious 45 minutes of your time on earth with a concrete piece of shit. It’s bourgeois to say fuck this place because some kid in Iowa would probably sell his little brother into cruel child labor to have this thing, but fuck this place. Bye.
Throughout the VHS and DVD skate video era, the brunt of the work put into the few New York full-lengths that existed was at the helm of New Jerseyians, Long Islanders and ex-pats.
Then, Flipmode came along — a crew of virtually sponsorless (unless you’re counting Shut or Official flow) Queens kids who grew up skating the Forrest Park Bandshell and Flushing Meadows Park. They became the first group of dominantly-actually-from-a-New-York-City-borough kids to make a rewatchable, hour-long skate video.
On this day, exactly ten years ago, Suck My Flipmode A.K.A. Flipmode 3: The First Flipmode Video (the first two had low circulation on VHS tapes among friends) premiered on the screen in front of Supreme. In 2006, a skatepark meant either Mullaly’s, Riverside, Owl’s Head or recycled plastic ramps under the Manhattan Bridge. The Banks were still semi skateable. iPhones didn’t exist, and everyone found out about the premiere on Myspace. YouTube was in its first year of existence, and Official New York was on the way out. New York was also far from occupying its current day status as the second home of the skate industry, April thru September.
Skateboarding in New York, up until that point, was a grown-ups only club. You could tag along on their sessions if they liked you, but you never truly belonged. Their footage would either get hoarded, sent out to video mags, or if lucky, end up in the few full-length artifacts from the era (those ABC videos, Lurkers 1 & 2…that’s about it.) The average age in Flipmode was ~17-18, and it exceeded the natives-only litmus test unlike any of those other videos. It also helped that it got co-signs from those same older guys, as New York still had a lingering us-v.s.-them line drawn between our generation, and the generation of dudes who were around for all the shit from the 90s that people today still *ahhhh* over.
It might be forgotten in a sea of solo jazz cups now, but it was a truly a watershed moment for below-drinking-age skateboarding in New York — an initial building block in the brick maze Windows 95 screensaver empire known as Bronze 56k.
Thank you Peter. Thank you Jimmy Marketti, Billy, X, Leo, Joseph, Ryan O’Donnell, Drippy, Pedro, and Derrick — by the way, my post got over 800 likes. What’s up with the comeback part?
Krak has been prolific in bringing us video Cliffnotes of every name-brand spot as of late. The latest installment comes from the second most famous ledge over a grate gap on planet earth (the first one being in Italy obvs, as it’s maybe the most famous non-Philadelphian or Barcelonian ledge spot altogether), and the longest still-standing marquee obstacle in New York city limits.
Though it’s not arranged chronologically, it really goes to show you how psychotic the progression of skating has been in the fifteen years since a long switch back tail was an extra sslloowweeddbanger in a video part. Gino was just talking about how kids being able to hop on a ledge and sit on it is a symptom of “I can’t remember a single trick from that part”-syndrome. At least the the reigning king of sitting on the grate probably has a 516 area code, and did all of his more noteworthy maneuvers before superhuman abilities to sit on ledges became more common. Everything post-Reres has been more or less a blur via obligatory clips in “Summer Trip to New York” edits.
A few footnotes…
– The first footage of this thing in mind is Rodney’s crook and S.J’s front tail in Peep This. (Or was it Heads?) Bici had the first footage of Flushing altogether that I can recall in Mixtape, though he skated the outside of the ledge. He’s also the last person to ever film a slide on the outside of spot as well ;)
Nearly every time a particular trick on a particular spot is mentioned on a particular website, the responses are the same:
“My boy from Wisconsin already did that.”
“Didn’t some guy on Habitat Australia do that in a Slam four years ago?”
“That Canadian with the guages and the DCs did it switch.”
“Greg Lutzka frontside flipped into that.”
We live in a time when some guy lipsliding up Black Hubba is forgotten during a cursory nerd-out conversation regarding all the tricks that have been done there.
The year was 2006 and we were not yet twelve months into our now decade-long existence as an accredited skateboard fashion house. YouTube was a year-and-a-half old. Myspace was more popular than Facebook. Bronze was still Flipmode, and their star players were Billy Lynch and Derrick Z. That summer, they released what was then the pinnacle of little kid New York City skate videos, Flipmode 3. One of its standouts was a switch flip backside tailslide over the Flushing grate by James Reres.
If at least 20% of the numbers in your phone don’t begin with a 516, it is likely you may not know who James Reres is. Around the time of said Flipmode 3 trick, he rattled off a barrage of tricks over Flushing, with a ferocity not seen in city limits since Zered on the old Grace ledge. Individuals qualified to give proverbial Golden “Globes” crowned him “King of the Grate,” a title that still stands today. It didn’t matter if someone did one of those tricks down the line — they’d have to do all of them and probably some new ones to make a further impact on the spot.
It was right then and there that we knew ABDs would soon be useless. A guy unknown to most not living within a sixty-mile radius of Long Island had singlehandedly set the bar higher than anyone would be able to reach it for almost a decade to come. Our ABD statistician — a fresh-faced Princeton economics graduate tasked with populating spreadsheets with every trick done at the city’s spots — was out of a job.
Some kid on Supra flow is warming up at Santa Monica Courthouse with a switch flip back tail as you read this. Any nerd with Chickenbone wax and some patience could probably do The King’s tricks now. Except unless he has a time machine back to when miraculous skateboard achievements had a lifespan of more than 24 hours, worrying about whether someone did a better trick in 2015 is like hoping the sun won’t set. Thank you to James Reres for so unfairly tipping the scales at New York’s longest-standing marquee skate spot in his favor. Our office hasn’t cared about ABDs since.