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 (first black man on the cover of Transworld), 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…
There isn’t exactly an abundance of video coverage for New York in the late-eighties and early-nineties. There’s obviously Vallely’s Rubbish Heap part, and Matt Hensley in Full Power Trip (and I guess the NYC section in Future Primitive, but 1985 isn’t the late-eighties…feel free to include links to anything that may have been missed in the comments), but none of those guys are actually from New York. Even the Deathbowl documentary glossed over this period, only tackling it from the “history of Shut” angle.
Well, God bless all the neglected storage spaces throughout New York. NY Skateboarding posted Apple Juice, a mini-documentary by Skate NYC, a skate shop that was in operation from 1986 to 1990 on Avenue A and 9th, which happened to be stored away in some dusty box for years. It’s not exactly a full-fledged skate video, but a previously unseen look, at least from a cultural standpoint, at what skateboarding in downtown New York looked like at the onset of the nineties. Features Harold Hunter, Jon Carter, and others, with a variety of locations no longer with us, including the World Trade Center, The Brooklyn Banks, and the original three-stair ledge version of the Fuji Building on 52nd Street and Park.
“All these kids, they have such fear about getting older, and they’re so happy being fourteen or fifteen. Boy, that is such a distinction from when I was a kid. All we wanted to do is get older, we couldn’t do anything out our age. These guys have a whole world that is defined on every level by what they do, and the only fear of getting older is that you’re going to lose what you have now.”