Deeper in the Skate NYC Archive…

It has been a quietly monumental week for New York City skate footage, at least from a historical perspective. While the Skate NYC Apple Juice documentary is quickly working its way over 5,000 YouTube views, several lesser-exposed video clips have been released to accompany it, and they might be even more precious than the doc itself. I have no clue who “skinnypoo” is on Youtube, but he just uploaded a fifteen-minute gem of raw, late-eighties New York footage featuring Harold Hunter, Hamilton Harris, Jamal Simmons, Ryan Hickey, and even Steven Cales, all in their teen years. We’re talking people who already have sparse video appearances throughout their regular skate careers, let alone footage of them skating Tompkins in 1989.

These videos, along with the documentary from earlier in the week, have quickly managed to fill in the aforementioned late-eighties/downtown gap that the Deathbowl doc glossed over. It’s amazing how there is barely any Banks footage throughout the videos, yet plenty of Midtown, World Trade Center, and Tompkins stuff, not to mention a few cutty East Village spots, including the (now blocked-off) manual pad in front of P.S. 19 on First and 11th, and the two-stair curb next to the NYU dorms on 9th Street between Third and Second. You can go two decades hearing about an era of skating that was barely documented outside of a few iconic Shut or Harold Hunter photos, and then out of the blue, someone unloads thirty minutes of never-before-seen footage. The stuff that turns up on YouTube is absolutely amazing…

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The (No Longer) Delayed Astor Place Renovation

We mentioned it about two years ago, but Curbed is reporting that in light of the economy no longer being “in the skids,” the renovation of the entire area around the Cube is soon to be under way. That essentially means they are going to knock out a bunch of the streets, and pour some sand over glue a la “the green ribbon winding from 59th Street to 14th.”

Although Astor is probably the most famous skate spot that isn’t actually a skate spot, it’s going to suck to see it go. We haven’t been skating there too much in the past year-and-a-half, due to the street renovations that sent tons of small pebbles into the area, proving detrimental to a place best-suited for flatground tricks. If you haven’t spent countless summer evenings here, waiting for the sun to set and the street lights to turn on, watching girls and learning tricks, it’s going to be hard to explain the spot’s zen-like appeal, and why exactly a place where your board might get run over by a cab, or a cop might cruise by and give you a ticket, was worth skating for four hours straight. (Even when you had to share it with ravers and morons having convulsions after spinning the cube for their first time.)

The one amazing thing about the article, is that it seems like the “neighborhood” actually discussed skateboarding in their meeting. “Down in the plaza W+Y’s zipper benches, good for keeping skateboarders in line, will encircle the trees and give East Villagers a chance to kick back on something other than grungy sidewalks.” I know cities, especially New York, always change as different tides of people move in, but it has always pissed me off that someone can live amidst a four lane intersection with a major subway stop outside and legions of NYU idiots vomiting on the street, and still call in a NOISE complaint on skateboarders. You guys can cry about “trust fund kids” all you want, but people who have the audacity to call in a noise complaint in New York City while living in a four-way intersection are the real enemy.

When I started skating here, the curb was like a foot high. They just paved it so much over the years.” — Ryan Hickey

R.I.P. Astor Place