VPA 14: New York, New York

G’day and welcome back to the column, Vandals, Posers Athletes.

This week it’s mostly about New York City—a city I’m yet to visit, but one which I feel a vague and fragmented connection to through all sorts of random references in pop culture, food and skateboarding. Between Tompkins Square Park, oversized pretzels, Seinfeld, the movie Kids, bagels with cream cheese, the Beautiful Losers artists, Tyshawn Jones, and Blondie, an endless stream of cool shit has come out of New York. And it just so happens that two of the best skateboarding clips from the last fortnight were filmed on trips to NYC: Dickies’ Another Day, Another Bodega and Volcom’s Where Are We Going?!

Due to the city’s brutal winters, New York concrete has a reputation for being rough, crusty and occasionally bloody. Throw in some heavy traffic, lots of pedestrians and a rich history of talented skateboarders who have destroyed the city’s spots, and NYC seems an almost impossible place to get NBDs. But as you’ll see, both the Dickies and Volcom crews managed to throw down some stuff that was both ground-breaking and very enjoyable to watch.

Another Day, Another Bodega

What the hell is a Bodega? Apparently that’s New York vernacular for a corner grocery where you can buy anything from a breakfast sandwich to a pair of pantyhose to a cold beer (I had to look it up). Many of them are run by immigrants from various parts of the world who put their own unique cultural twists on the store. NYC has more than 10,000 bodegas across the five boroughs, and we can safely assume that the Dickies team hit up at least 10 of them. Featuring ‘Straya’s own Jake Hayes, along with Jamie Foy, Alysha Le, Ronnie Sandoval, Franky Villani, and Tom Knox, Dickies didn’t go to New York to fuck spiders. The result is a short but sweet tour clip, filmed by Joe Monteleone and Matt Schleyer, edited to the highly sexual sounds of Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better). Lots of gnar in here, especially (spoiler alert) Franky Villani’s half Cab flip down the D7 blocks. Short and to the point, this here’s a top-notch edit.

Where Are We Going?!

As the Volcom guys put it, ‘We opted not to rent a van or any sort of automobile but rather push our way around the city and utilize the NYC public transit system to get truly immersed in the city.’ The team—Jackson Pilz, Louie Lopez, Milton Martinez, Simon Bannerot, Alec Majerus, Collin Provost, and Jhanca Gonzalez—spent two weeks pushing around New York, battling rain, skitching cars, skating iconic spots, and chilling at the Airbnb. In fact, there was so much love for that Airbnb, at one point I thought I might have been watching a piece of Airbnb-sponsored content. As far as juicy spoilers go, Milton’s backside ollie out of the Con Edson banks and over the bench was unfathomable and Simon’s four-ollie line at the St Jerome Avenue banks was a beauty, especially with all that power sliding.

The Evolution Of… The Jerome Ave Banks

This little slice of history is by no means new, but if you’re interested in brushing up on your NYC street spot knowledge, check this mini doco from Jenkem, which tells the story of the aforementioned St Jerome Avenue banks. And if that whets your appetite for more, there’s one about the D7 Blocks and another about the Black Hubba. New York skate history at its finest.

Matlok Bennett-Jones’ Afterbang part

‘Ah’ll fokin knock you right out maan. I fokin will.’ It’s a great line to begin a video part, especially when it’s delivered by a dumpy, yet very glammed-up woman wearing ridiculous shades and wheeling a huge leopard-print suitcase. Matlok’s reply is pretty great too: ‘Please don’t. I just want to skate this.’ His smile after rolling away from that backside 180 nosegrind says it all. Admittedly, this part from Matlok Bennett-Jones has absolutely nothing to do with this week’s New York City theme, but, if you really want a tangent, the young pommy skater also has a part in the new Pass~Port video, Kitsch, which premiered in New York just the other day. Keep your eyes peeled for that one coming out on DVD real soon. Matlok oozes style and seems to have an eye for selecting the right tricks at the right spots. Filmed and edited by James Cruickshank, it’s one of a few Afterbang parts that have come out through Free Skateboard Mag this year. The song, by The Orielles, compliments Matlok’s uber-stylish lines perfectly.

The Letters – Geoff Rowley

I heaped enough praise on both Geoff Rowley and Jeff Grosso in my last column, so I’ll just leave this here. It’s a conversation between two legends about some of the gnarliest dudes ever to do it.

Until next time, mates.

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