Columbus Park had a storied ascent to the throne as Manhattan’s most skated street spot. Over a decade has passed since it was simply a kinked ledge or an eight-stair rail that our more talented colleagues could ollie over the top of. People began to skate up the two-block and indulge in combo tricks down the ledge, but something was…missing. Have sex with the same person enough times and you’ll find yourself hinting at deeply suppressed desires via the casual “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we ____.” The same could be said about spots that have managed to avoid knobs for 10+ years.
Given his open line of communication with Jah, it should come as no surprise that Yaje Popson was one of early proponents of Columbus Park’s nouvelle vague — via grinding the vertical part of the handrail before riding down the steps, and by angling his third eye towards the perpendicular at the now-mundane and lesser-seen kinked ledge.
But brains have been expanding at Mulberry and Worth Street early into the fall #trend season, most visibly in the 917 video, where Alex Olson’s one-time favorite skateboarder, Chris Millic, presented us with a three-pronged route from one level of the court to the other, and basically permanent Q.S.S.O.T.Y., Max Palmer, found a corner to the same ledge that nobody else had dared to examine.
New York skateboarding has a storied infatuation with nothingness. We’ve all been taken to a new spot by our friends, only to greet it with a “…this?” upon arrival. Our most famous street spot is an empty square — a blank canvas for the debris that the city creates. Objects get grinded on, marked up, and discarded. We return to nothing until the next pallet, old television set or traffic cone tumbles into our lives.
These empty spaces are accessible — 9th and A, 12th and A, Houston and Sixth — we all pass by them dozens of times each week. It is natural that we get sucked into their orbit rather than risk a kick-out somewhere in the Financial District. But there is another notoriously spot-deprived space that has been popping up in clips with greater frequency: Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterwork of civil engineering, Central Park.
People across the globe are fucking pissed. Racists just “want their country back,” Le Pen is saying the shit that even Tr*mp won’t say, everyone’s Googling what “xenophobia” means, and everything is basically the person who doesn’t look like you’s fault. A website that specializes in okay skateboard tricks edited to “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” isn’t the place to get into it — but we’re in for a rough couple of years.
Even icons of skateboarding’s delinquent past are constructively channeling their emotions, with Jim Greco getting all Cassavettes on us and Bam regretful that he didn’t focus more on skateboarding.
Are we destined to wear mandatory standard-issue dad caps, and be placed in sterile, Olympic-endorsed skateparks where we argue over who is more sorry should we accidentally snake one of our peers?
No, because angst is back, baby. Back in a big way.
As the tide of Monster Energy rushes to baptize us into an NBC-friendly presentation, the Olympic Committee must reconcile the fact that skateboarders are the ones reminding security guards that their jobs suck, and if they disagree, occasionally bodyslamming them. Skateboarders have no respect for foliage. They’re cutting wire fences to break into Six Flags. They’re bringing a trash can back to the bump after you drag it away, and then bringing a third and fourth one after you drag those away. We’re all — to varying degrees — an irrefutable pain in the ass for everyone else, and the reminders are running rampant in 2017.