Thanks to the original uploader. Part one of twelve embedded below. Not going to embed all twelve, so just click around the right side under all the related videos. Each section is a small chapter of at least one nostalgia point from the late-90s/early-2000s that people nerd out over.
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…
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.”
The best web clip in who knows how long. While “summer in New York” clips typically embody a play-by-play ending off at the Courthouse Drop, the creative team over at Palace Skateboards aspired for something significantly different. The clip falls in line with the VHS nostalgia seen in projects like Gnar Gnar and Caviar, but blends it with token nuances like non-annoying instrumentals, Waka Flocka, Bun B vocal cut-ins, and other things more synonymous with the modern era. The skating is all sick, including many instances portraying the difficult pursuit of doing meandering street lines that don’t seem forced, or like, “weird, bro.”
While some asshole is probably on the internet screaming blasphemy at the re-usage of Jeff Pang’s Mixtape song, we’re supporting it wholeheartedly. Especially in light of the fact that that red bench ollie (at the spot that isn’t actually *the* Red Benches, but on the northern side of the building) is the sort of thing that would have been in a nineties skate video. On an anecdotal note, that particular song features Matthew Mooney’s favorite rap line of all time from none other than Keith Nut. Ask him what it is sometime, it’ll be a good conversation icebreaker.
(The real question is: Does Palace receive endorsement checks from Long Island University? And if so, how does it tie into the company?)
Palace also put together a Lucien Clarke compilation, featuring some of his This Time Tomorrow footage, and set to another nineties classic. Who would have thought that a British company would have cornered the more nostalgically inclined side of the skateboard media world and not come off as contrived.
Falling into the same “sitting around on a Final Cut timeline from the dead of winter” category that last month’s most most fashionable clip ever was a part of, this is another reworking of old footage. In this case, it’s really old footage, originating from R.B. Umali’s NY Revisited compilation that was released around 2004-2005, spanning two DVD volumes (which were in somewhat of a limited run) and about three years (1995-1997.) The winter may have provided the time to sit there and throw this on a timeline, but the inspiration came from the Chrome Ball Incident’s interview with Quim, and the realization that despite his clear allegiance to camo pants, Quim never really had a full-on New York skate part in the nineties. A lot of this footage wasn’t exactly “unreleased” prior to when Revisited came out, but was still reserved for more montage-oritented outings. While this is sure as hell no Non-Fiction, it is somewhat of an attempt at getting on that Manolo archival program (Although nobody can really compete with what that dude does…) and filling the void in a coherent way. Plus, this guy’s highly unorthodox approach to just about everything — from doing two frontside 5050s on ledges in the same line, to using garbage bags as makeshift skate obstacles, to doing nollies onto ledges for no reason whatsoever — should be an inspiration to everyone that enjoys riding a skateboard.
And while typical protocol around here is editing things to Travis Porter, Young Jeezy, and all else intended for gentlemen’s cabarets situated below the Mason-Dixon line, we went the more tasteful route of channeling things actually released at a time and in a region synonymous with when the footage was filmed. So, our apologies go to our “core” fanbase. Even further apologies to purists who know that if this was actually released in 1997, it would be edited to some wild Jamaican conga drum voodoo music most commonly listened to by experimental yoga groups.