Upstate Update: Ithaca, Rochester & Buffalo


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

The western half of New York state has a handful of cities that are just over an hour drive from one another. This includes Buffalo and Rochester, the second and third largest in the state.

The first stop was Ithaca, home of the westernmost Ivy League school and birthplace of the Tornado Spin — the subject of skateboarding’s first viral video. You really gain an understanding for how seldom-seen these cities are when a three-year-old / minute-and-a-half-long Jake Johnson Brick Harbor part is repeatedly brought up as the only reference point for the locals showing you spots.

After an Orvis catalog shoot and some cliff jumping, the spent the first night at the cement wave with white bulbs that Jake skates in said part. We managed to avoid Cornell cops that night, but didn’t get so lucky the next day, when we went back to skate a building funded by college drop-out, Bill Gates. Happy to say I’m writing this on a Macbook, because our short stint at Bill and Melinda Gates Hall resulted in a one-year ban from Cornell University property.


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

“You’re going to Rochester? There are flatbars everywhere.”

At least six thousand people told me there are flatbars all over Rochester. They weren’t lying. There are flatbars all over Rochester. Can’t figure out why the city planners have such an affinity for round, one-to-two-foot-high flat rails, but they’re literally everywhere you look in the city. Google tries to get you drunk if you ask about it. No wonder everyone upstate is hammered all the time ;)

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Upstate Update: Albany & Syracuse


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

Every summer in New York has a “get me out of here”-moment. It usually happens in August — when you realize all your free time has been spent sitting at Tompkins, maybe leaving to watch your friend try a trick somewhere, and then ending up at T.F. West or maybe probably definitely the bar. The past month feels a week long.

The easiest way to slow down time is to spend it in an unfamiliar environment. Having already gone way over budget on the seminal European tour video, 56 Tricks, we had to resort to more modest options. Thanks to a paper bag full of crumpled bills from Nike SB, we were able to load up two vans with #core #skateboarders — guys without agents who would never dare suggest that we “warm up” at a “skatepark” — and got on the road for a five-city #core #tour of Upstate New York.


Photo by Zach Malfa-Kowalski

To get the pressing question out of the way, no, we could not make the Dime Glory Challenge. As we pulled into New York’s capital, we looked northward at the 200 miles to French Canada and wished the boys good luck, but travel towards Dime HQ ended there. In consolation, Albany contains one of the most perfect spots known to man: T.F-esque flatground separated by three levels of mellow banks. There have been rumors of it getting turned into a skatepark, but thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. It’s perfect as is.

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