NORTH SKATEBOARD MAGAZINE
NICK REMON SH OT BY CH RIS JO H N S O N
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BENNY FAIRFAX BACKSIDE NOSEGRIND IN LONDON, ENGLAND
Introduction At the end of last year I decided to get a flight to New York on short notice. My good friend who I grew up skating with lives there so I always have a place to stay. I’ve been a few times and it’s all too easy to fall into holiday mode and get nothing done, I didn’t want to fall into that trap again so I started planning out the trip. When you think of New York skateboarding a few companies come to mind, 5boro is definitely one of them. I’d briefly met the 5boro TM and filmer Tombo on a previous visit so decided to hit him up. I asked If he was around and if he’d be interested in working with me to get an article together. Thankfully he was down. All the guys that were in town were keen on shooting something too which was great. With exception to a couple of days that were rained off we were out on the streets everyday. I managed to get a lot more done in two weeks than I thought was possible, so much so that I decided to make issue 04 a New York based issue. Tombo hooked me up pretty good so a big shout out to him and all the 5boro dudes, you killed it.
Graham Tait Editor/Photographer
Cover: Vivien Feil - Nose Wallie ‘This photo speaks a lot about Vivien. When we first met, he was in the beginning stages of Magenta. During my stay in Paris, most of our time was spent rolling around to show me as much as possible without any of his agenda of being a business owner or planning his upcoming fatherhood taking priority. Years later this photo remains special as he continues to globally connect skateboarding by immersing himself into society and encouraging collaboration.’ - Zander Taketomo
Contents NYC With 5boro Park Deli Zander Taketomo
S K AT E B O A R D I N G C O L L E C T I O N
STRONG MADE STRONGER
E X C L U S I V E LY AT S K AT E S H O P S W O R L D W I D E
L E V I . C O M / S K AT E B O A R D I N G
I N S TA : @ L A K A I LT D F B : L A K A I LT D WEB: LAKAI.COM
THE / M O R E I N F O AT L A K A I . C O M
How long have you been working at 5boro and how did you get involved there? I started working for 5boro about 10 years ago fresh out of dropping out of community college. I had been friends with Joe Tookmanian for a couple years already and once he started getting boards from 5B I would tag along on sessions and help film. Eventually I was asked to help film the younger guys who rode for 5boro at the time (Danny Falla, Brandon Westgate, Willy Akers, Luis Tolentino). After a while I pretty much had a whole video filmed (which would later become New York, New York) and Steve asked me if I would be interested in Team Managing. I wasn’t old enough to rent a tour van or even get into bars and I was definitely clueless about life outside the New York/ New Jersey area. I said fuck it, quite my job at the local movie theater and hopped in a van with a bunch of derelicts. That’s a big job for someone who is relatively a kid themselves. How did you initially get into filming and was it hard being in charge of getting footage out of those guys? It got into filming around age 14 after a couple back to back ankle injuries left me at home while all my homies were out skating. After a month or so I thought instead of sitting around watching skate videos all day maybe I should try to make my own video? So I saved up for a piece of shit VHS-C camcorder and started filming my bros. It wasn’t until years later probably when I was 17 or so when I met Joe Tookmanian and Darren Baskinger that I started taking a more serious approach. For the first time I was filming tricks that were good enough to be in real videos. I still remember the first day I came home from skating with those guys and thinking “Damn, I’d be hyped if I could keep doing this.”
As for the difficulty of being in charge of skaters producing footage I’ve never really had a problem. I have always tried to skate with people that are equally as motivated. Sure we all sometimes go in and out of being psyched when working on a long project, which is totally understandable, but for the most part myself and whoever I’m working on a part with feed off each other’s motivation and it bubbles from there. We could all get real jobs and make way more money if we wanted to stress all day. As long as everyone involved is having fun then no matter how productive we are its a success in my book. It definitely helps surrounding yourself with skaters who are motivated that’s for sure. You mentioned you were filming the younger guys, who was filming the older dudes? Seamus Deegan used to be the 5B TM/Filmer before me and when he moved on I’m not really sure. Once I met the entire crew (Pensyl, Suski, Pat Smith, Justin Barnes) we all started rolling out pretty deep to spots. This was back in the early 2000s when the outer Boros were pretty untouched compared to how everything is today.
Do you get territorial over spots that you’ve found? I mean there are a lot of guys filming in New York, do you all get along? Nah I don’t really waste my time getting pissed about who skated what or who one upped who. The amount of skaters in the city has multiplied by crazy proportions since I started coming here it’s hard to keep track of everything. I’ll come across videos all the time of kids here killing it that i’ve never heard of. There are so many good skateboarders in NYC right now that nobody outside the city has heard of yet, it’s crazy. Kids that will put a lot of the ams or pros out there to shame. The skaters, filmers or photographers i’m down with all help each other out with spots. You’ve got to tell me about Li’l Wayne, how did that whole thing come about? Our good friend Adam Ziegler, who used to work for 5boro, got the job of being Lil’ Wayne’s skate coach. He hit me up saying Wayne was learning how to skate and if we could lace him up with some boards, so we hit him with a box. He invited us out to his house in Miami where he has a skatepark on the roof which is pretty crazy. Took him street skating and all that. Dude even got the 5boro pigeon tattoo on his face. He’s an awesome guy who is genuinely psyched on skateboarding. People love to hate but you gotta think about it like this, if there was footage of you trying to learn how to ollie up a curb or do an axle stall on a quarter pipe all of the internet back when you started skating, people would be hating on you too. It’s been 2-3 years and he’s still skating, still progressing, still just as psyched as we were back then when we just discovered skating. Gotta back the dude.
That’s pretty crazy that he got a 5boro tattoo on his face. Was there ever talk of you guys being in a music video, that would be tight! Nah man. Bitches, cash, cars, and drugs sell records, not shitty dudes on skateboards. I know you’re working on a new video which should drop this summer, how’s that coming along? Yeah man we are dropping a new video in the later months of 2014. It features the usual suspects of past 5B Videos as well as a new generation of 5B, Silvester Eduardo, Jordan Trahan, Rob Gonyon and Killah Karim Callendar will all have parts along with the OGs and 5B. Its been awesome to see these kids grow over the years from being the little 15 year old flow kids tagging along on missions to the grown ass men they are today. Just wanna thank the 5B Family past and present. Graham Ave Meats for holding me down on the illest food in all of Brooklyn. And the NY Knicks for year after year giving the kid a serious ulcer and making the bitter man I am.
You’ve been out filming a lot for the new 5boro video, is this your first full video part? I hear you have a lot of sick stuff already. A new 5boro video is in the works right now. All HD mostly in NYC. It will be my first video part in anything beside some small sections in homie videos. It has been an awesome experience. What’s your take on filming for a video part, what’s your end goal? Making a part is like making a short film. You and a filmer go over ideas and try to capture them in a way that makes it all fit together. There are so many locations to choose from for a line or a single trick. What tricks to do, how to film them. Then you figure out how to skate these spots. I never thought I would have to think about where to push in a line or how to, but sometimes you do. Even though some of it is planned, the point is to capture something real or inspiring. After all this you end up with footage that says a lot about you. Our favourite video parts say the most. I like watching my favourite parts and hope to give someone that motivation they give me. Stealing things I like from what I see and trying to twist it in another way. As for my footage, like many skaters I always focus on what it lacks. What tricks I don’t have or do. Then try to get some different ones, but the feeling of wanting more stays. We all have high ambitions when it comes to filming a part, especially when you see what has been done. I hope to do something a bit new and fun for people to watch.
You wouldn’t be filming if you didn’t want someone to watch it. It is for skaters and it’s a way for you to make a vision translate into a video. In the end you hope some one likes it. You say that your favourite video parts say a lot about you, do you have a favourite? What I meant was that your favourite video parts say something you relate to and that is why you like them so much. The great video parts have a unique personality and style that comes through the skating. The parts say a lot about the skater in them. I like so many video parts but most recently I would say Danny Garcia and Tim O’Connor in Inhabitants. My all time favourite is probably Jake Johnson in Mindfield.
What was the scene like in New Jersey when you started? The scene if any was very suburban, a lot of grass gap skating and flat rails in drive ways. I had a two stair next to my house that I would skate along with a small flat bar. It was just me and my local friends until I got old enough to head into NYC to skate. Skating NYC was my first exposure to a big scene of skaters. There were young kids and for the first time some older dudes who knew all these spots and tricks I hadn’t seen. It was so much easier to go into the New York City where I lived rather than New Jersey so I didn’t see a bigger New Jersey scene until later on. Have you been stressing about filming for your part, you’ve put a lot of thought into it. I had this weird experience with skating when suddenly it made me extremely stressed out. I lost the motivation and ability to do it. What got me skating again was remembering that I started doing it because it was fun. The only way you can convince yourself to huck your body tooth first down a 30 stair is if you think it will be fun. Don’t worry so much about if people think certain tricks are lame, focus on the tricks you have fun doing. Are you originally from NYC?
So you experienced the New York scene before the New Jersey one, what were the differences? To me the New Jersey skate scene is all about the crustiest street spots, DIY bowls and transition in old factories and warehouses, ramp parties and a lot of beer. You can get away with building more in New Jersey because there are not as many people around but you need a car to really get around. The New York skate scene is a mash up of everyone from all over the USA. Its all about skating from spot to spot and taking the subway. You never really know where or what you will end up skating or who you might run into.
My mom and dad are from Dominion Republic, and like most Dominicans they ended up moving to Washington Heights. I was born uptown in Washington Heights, Manhattan but moved over into to Jersey soon after. How did you get into skating? I probably wouldn’t be skating if it wasn’t for Tony Hawk The Tony Hawk Pro skater games were my first introduction to street skating. Me and my brother would unlock all these video parts they had in the game and just watch those.
Did you go to Tampa am for the first time last month? How was it, did you enter? Tampa am 2012 was my first time out there for the contest. First time in Florida too. It was 70 degrees! No complaints. I didnâ€™t qualify so I just ate and watched. How do you feel about contests? Have you had any scary run ins? New York can be a crazy place at times. I have seen some weirdness. I saw this dude choking out this girl against a car so hard that the car behind her was shaking. Another man was urging him to stop but the guy wouldnâ€™t. I was caught off guard and thought the cops would probably take so long to get there that I should just look for one. As I am looking for a cop or a cop car the man drags this woman down the street and they are gone with the man from before pursuing them. A few minutes later the cops arrive. The crazy part about New York is that stuff like that will happen and it will pass in minutes and everyone resumes their day like nothing happened. Most of the time you just see bums laying around or taking shits in the street.
Its pretty sick when you get to see all these people skate that you might have never see skate in person. Contests can be fun especially when they are like tampa where a bunch of people meet and hang out. Did you have much time to skate street out there? No street skating in Tampa. Just hung out at the park and some other local park. Have you had much opportunity to travel through skating? I have gone on some awesome trips. Mostly local east coast area. Hopefully go on another one soon. Did you guys not do a trip for RedBull recently?
Have you ever been arrested for skating in the city? Getting arrested for skating in the city is pretty rare. You would have to do something crazy. Getting a ticket is more likely even though that is still rare.Â In New Jersey where I live, my friends got arrested for skating a skatepark without helmets! That would never happen in New York.
Red Bull sponsored a 5boro Canada trip. It was awesome. We went up the east coast of the U. S. Past the border and then as far east as you can go in Canada by taking ferries. How long was the trip? It was a two week long trip.
Was it strictly skating or did you guys party? It was mostly skating. Me, Jimmy, Tombo, Took, Gonyon, Jordan and photographer Sam Maguire were all there. We went “screeching” one night. Its when you go to this bar, kiss a frozen fish, sing a song, and take a shot. You then become a New Foundlander. Is that a Canadian thing? They do it in New Foundland, Canada. Its a ritual to make you a real New Foundlander. A shot, a kiss, and a song. Its mostly to have a good time and laugh. You also get some history about New Foundland and a piece of paper that means you are certified. That does sound like fun, what did you guys sing? I don’t remember. The host was doing most of the singing everyone else was just cheering a long. Have you ever been to karaoke in Chinatown? That shit off the hook! No karaoke for me just yet. I would be down to sing some Billy Joel or some Pac. Rapping at Karaoke is hard as hell, you pretty much need to know the words beforehand. Some Billy Joel would be dope though. Definitely check it out with some homies, it’s really good fun. Any idea when the edit’s going online? Not sure exactly, Hopefully soon. Shout out to all the Mvks. J Bolts, Eagle Rob, Sarge, Feeble, Keeble, Rip Daniels Glenn, Angel, Naomi and Christina.
2013 was a pretty good year for you, your skating has definitely put you on the map. What were some of the highlights for you? This year I was hyped to leave to the country for the first time. We went on a NB trip to Vancouver and a 5B trip to Nova Scotia. I also just finished a bicycle trip from my hometown in Louisiana to Houston. Louisiana to Houston, how far is that? It was about 250 miles. We split it up through about 5 days. We’re still kickin it at Correa’s for a few days and then my boys will continue riding to California. Are you going to stay in Houston for a while? The weather in New York can’t be that great right now. No I’ll only be staying a couple more days. Today we’re working on this DIY spot in downtown Houston. It’s called the Bryar Patch. That sounds good, what are you guys making? Well Chris Bryar found a slab near the amtrak station in downtown Houston. It’s got a satellite trannied in and a couple curb ledges already and today we poured a hip and a couple of bowl corners. It’s nice.
New Balance are just about to start dropping around the world. You must be hyped to be part of the team, how did that happen? Well I met Arto last year at a KCDC/WeSC event. He just started riding for WeSC then. We skated a few times later that month and he asked me about it then. Must be rad being part of something from the beginning. Yeah definitely. The first couple of months were a little grey because the shoes hadn’t released yet. People around town asking me where I found new balance skate shoes. Was there any kind of grace period or were you on straight away? Arto mentioned me to Seb, the brand manager. Seb knows Nardelli and Tombo at 5boro and they were hyped to see it all happen. How’s filming for the new 5boro video coming along? The 5boro video is about ready to drop. We’ve been setting footage aside for it for over two years now. I’ve been gone for two months now but hopefully I’ll be back in time to get a couple more things.
Frontside 180 No Comply
Who’s part are you hyped to see? Probably Gonyon’s part. He’s got some really dope shit for video. Took and Jimmy’s parts won’t disappoint either. Gonyon is rad, i’m hyped to see his part too. Do you have any more trips coming up? After I leave LA I’m heading back to Louisiana for the opening of the skatepark in my hometown. It’ll be really cool to see some kids skating out there again. How do you feel about New York after living here for two years? It’s an exciting place to be. The longer I stay, the more at home I feel there. I’m just getting ready to move out of the first apartment I’ve had, so it’s a little unclear where i’ll be next. A lot of the crew get tattoos, are you down for life? Well I just got the pigeon tattoo a couple of months ago. Aside from 5boro as a board company, the crew is a real crew you know. We’ll be kickin it forever.
You’re the newest am on 5boro right, how was the transition from flow to am? How did it happen? Yeah I’m the newest team rider on 5boro. My close homie and team member Rob Gonyon put me on about a year ago. I was skating the Bayonne park in New Jersey and l saw him there with Luis Tolentino, he asked me if I wanted to get boards from 5B and it pretty much happened from there. I was really stoked because that day was my 15th birthday. That’s rad that it all happened so fast. Did you know any of the other guys on the team?
That’s cool that she’s down. You’re going to need to invest a lot of time into skating this year if you’re going to have some footage in the new video. How’s that coming a long? It’s coming along pretty good so far. It’s awesome going on film missions with the team, they all shred. I’m super stoked and grateful that they are actually putting me in the new 5B video. Who’s part are you most hyped on? You must have seen some rad shit going down.
Yeah, I knew Danny Falla.
That’s a hard question. I have been seeing some pretty gnarly stuff from all of them, I’m hyped to see all of their parts!
How was it meeting the other guys, did anyone give you a hard time or bust your chops?
You were born In New York but moved away, where did you go and when did you come back?
It was awesome meeting the guys on the team, they’re all super chill and shred.
Yeah I was born in NY but then I moved to Ft Lauderdale Florida for about 2 years then moved back to Queens.
How much time do you get to skate during the week when you’re not at school? Is your mum cool with you investing a lot of time into skating instead of maybe studying a bit more? I get a proper amount of time to skate. My Mom loves that I skateboard and she tries to support me as much as she can, but she is serious with school, and makes sure I get my work done. She also understands when I have to be constantly on my board.
Is that where you got into skating?
Stevie Williams seems like a nice dude. How did you get hooked up with those guys?
Yeah. When I lived in Florida my Mom bought my first Wal-Mart board and I was 8 years old. I always had all the Tony Hawk video games and I always was fascinated by skateboarding and I just wanted to try it out. When I moved back to NY I met many other friends that skated as well and just constantly skated with all my homies and go out to the city to all the spots.
Yeah Stevie is the man! I got hooked up by Asphalt from Jessie Fritsch. I sent some footage out to him and he liked it, he emailed me back the next day and told me that they were coming out to NYC in a couple of days. I was just in shock, I was really stoked, and it pretty much happened from there.
Do you have an idea of how you want your video part to look? Do you have a list of tricks you want to get?
Seems like you’ve got a good bunch of dudes looking out for you.
I have many tricks I want to do for the part. I just want my part to be creative and enjoyable to watch.
Yeah I appreciate all of the love and support, it’s really a blessing.
You had some tricks in the resent Asphalt Yacht Club edit that was in New York. How was it seeing those guys skate?
Last question. How many hugs do you give out on an average day? You love a cuddle!
It was amazing skating with the team in NYC and seeing them all shred, it was such a great time getting to know them and constantly skating and chilling. I was so grateful to be able to meet them it was a blessing, they are all awesome! Yeah I got some clips in the Asphalt Yacht Club Thrasher skate park round up. Thanks to Jesse Fritsch, Stevie Williams, Ryan Allan, and Ewan Bowman. I just want to say thank you to all of you guys for everything!
I give a hug to all my homies every time I see them, so probably a lot of hugs haha! I just want to say Thank you to Stevie Williams, Jessie Fritsch, Ryan Allan and all the homies at Asphalt Yacht Club. Thank you Tombo Colabraro, Mark Nardelli, and Steve Rodriguez and all the homies at 5boro. Thank you Brian Kelley and Tyler Cichy at HUF. I also want to thank Belief NYC Skateshop. Thank you so much all of you guys for hooking it up its a blessing, you guys are the best! I really appreciate it, I love you all!
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Smith Grind Flip Out
Congratulations on turning pro! How does it feel to to have your name on a board?
You guys are all filming for the new video, will you be having a full part?
Thanks man, I’m really psyched. It’s a huge honour to have my name on a 5boro board alongside some of my closest friends — Danny Falla, Joe Tookmanian, Dan Pensyl and Willy Akers. I also think it’s awesome that they used one of Chris Mulhern’s photos as my graphic. Chris and I have been skating, traveling and filming together for 10 years now and without him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten half the opportunities I’ve had with skateboarding.
Yeah, I’ll have a part. We’ve been filming for the new video ever since Join or Die came out and we’re aiming to put it out some time this year. We haven’t been traveling much throughout the filming process, so the most of the footage in the video will probably be exclusively filmed in NYC.
Chris Mulhern just filmed an edit with you guys all skating in Philli, which was sick. Was that intended to be an edit to celebrate for you turning pro? Well thanks again. When we originally started filming for it that wasn’t the intention. I think the plan was just film some stuff with Mulhern in Philly and he’d edit something out of it. But as we got closer to finishing it Tombo told me they were going to turn me pro with the release of the clip. So you didn’t know you were turning pro? Tombo told me they were going to turn me pro with the Philly clip so that wasn’t a surprise. My graphic was a complete surprise though. I saw it for the first time the day the clip came out. Tombo texted me a photo of it at 4 am that same day.
Who’s part are you most hyped to see? Jordan, Doogie and Gonyon have all been ripping. The three of them are definitely going to have really strong parts. Every time I skate with them they always film something sick, and it usually happens pretty easily. They all have endless amounts of footage already. This will also the first 5boro video that they’ll have parts in. So that will be cool.
You’ve riding for 5boro for a long time, is it weird being one of the older guys now? It feels a little different. When I first started riding for 5boro I was 19 or 20 years old in a van full of guys that were all at least a couple years older than me. I’m 27 now, and I don’t consider myself to be old by any means, but it’s definitely a trip to be out skating with Karim and realize that I’m almost 12 years older than him. The cool thing about skateboarding though is it’s not weird or uncommon to be 40 years old and go out skating with people who are half your age. Skateboarding really brings people of all walks of life together. The last time we spoke you were living in Phili. Why did you decide to move back to NY, was it for work? No, I didn’t move back to NY for work. The last time we spoke must have been around 2011. At that time I was riding for e’S and making a living off of skating. I came back to NY because some of my good friends were moving out of Philly. I also just wanted to be in NY to skate and be with the 5boro crew. Then e’S went out of business a few months after I moved back, so I needed to find a job. I hear you’re working with Steve Rodriguez? Steve helped me get a copywriting internship at the advertising agency he works at, and eventually I got hired. I’ve been a copywriter there for about 2 years now. I basically work on all different kinds of ad campaigns writing stuff for TV commercials, print ads, billboards and so on.
Bump to 5.0
Is Steve still heavily involved with the company? Steve is still one of the owners and is definitely involved, but Mark Nardelli is more heavily involved in running 5boro these days. He quit his day job a few years back and he’s been running 5boro full-time ever since. He handles the art direction, brand direction and a little bit of everything in between. How you you find the day to day living in the City. How is it different to Phili? During the week, my daily life in NYC usually involves working, meeting up with Tombo and the crew to skate at night, and hanging out with my girlfriend. There’s always some variety but that’s pretty much my typical schedule here. I’m a lot busier than I was when I lived in Philly because of the job I have now. I don’t mind it though. Having multiple things to focus on outside of skateboarding actually makes skating more enjoyable to me. Public transportation is also a lot better in NYC than Philly, so that’s another point of difference. In Philly, we would often drive around if we were skating outside of downtown, but since the subway is so good in NYC, I can just hop on the train and go wherever I want without relying on anyone for a ride. Both Philly and NYC are great in their own ways though. DC, Philly and NYC are among my favourite cities I’ve ever skated.
You had the last section in the Bronze 56K video. Pretty much everyone I know is hyped on that crew, are those guys who you skate with the most? Yeah, I met Pat (Murray) when I was 16. He introduced me to Peter (Sidlauskas) and the rest of the origional Flipmode squad and we skated everyday from there. The past three years or so its been hard to get the entire crew out together because everyone has shit to do, filming parts for other videos and grown up stuff like work. We try to get together for a trip at least once a year. Summer 2013 we did a last minute weekend in Philly for the Solo Jazz video and everyone killed it. Even though it wasn’t a big trip and Philly is only 2 hours away it was fun as fuck and super productive. Shout out to that bar across the street from Puerto Rican Park and their $1.00 PBR pints #freemaxb What do you get up to on a daily basis, what’s your routine? Wake up, whip up a poppin’ breakfast, watch a video, and see if anyones down to skate. And end the day watching the Knicks with Tombo if they’re playing.
Tombo loves the Knicks, they’re not doing to well this season though! You said that you were going hunting this winter, did you get that buck you were after? The Knicks are a pretty shitty this year but Tombo and I still get up for almost every game. They beat Miami last night which was pretty sick! Those fucks should give us season tickets. Yeah hunting was sick, I went upstate with my pops for a week and got lucky the last day. We saw a bunch of doe running around all week but nobody could get off a clear shot. The last day we were there I was up in a tree stand for about three hours freezing my ass off and I was pretty over it. I ended up closing my eyes and napping for like 20 mins, when I woke up there was a doe coming out of the woods heading straight towards me. I took him down with one shot. It was my first deer, I was hyped, good eats too! Best feeling in the world. No matter how many times you see a deer in the woods you always get that adrenalin and excitement, even if you tell yourself you won’t the next time you see one. It never gets old. What guns were you using, do you own a gun? I shot the deer with my 35 Marlin. My father gave the rifle to me when I started hunting with him. He has a decent collection of rifles, no handguns though. His most recent purchase was a murdered out black 12 gauge shotgun to protect the crib just in case of anything ha. That’s pretty scary. Does you need a license to own those things? Yeah of course, My father has his license. I’ll have mine eventually.
Switch 180 to Crook
I’ve never shot a gun, I think I’d like too. What part of New York were you raised and where do you live now? Yeah it’s fun man you’d love it. I was born in Queens at St. John’s Hospital, RIP. And was raised in Ridgewood and moved around Queens. Now I’m in Glendale, It’s a chill neighbourhood. Queens baby. What was the scene like in Queens? Did you guys have your own thing going on or did you hit up downtown a lot? I had a crew of friends when I started skating and we had this flat ground spot we would skate every day at this park “93”. We would sometimes bring boxes and rails there but they would always eventually get thrown away by the parks department. That was from about the time I was like 12 to about 15. After that we started getting a little more into skating and heading out to Brooklyn spots and hitting up LES every weekend. That was our plan pretty much every weekend. Where do you skate these days? Its pretty random man. We usually don’t make any plans nowadays, we just head out and if anyone has an idea we go to that spot. If I have nowhere to go I usually just skate Forest Park skatepark by my crib, or that new 88 park. If i’m too lazy for that I just skate my flatbar that Took made for me.
One of my favourite things about new york is the food. What’s your favourite spots?
New York can be a crazy place, have you seen any crazy shit go down? Yeah haha. I actually saw some shit go down yesterday. A few friends and I were skating around the city and ended up skating the flat ground behind Union Square. There was this homeless couple that was arguing and the dude was slapping his chick up. I guess some shit happened and he was keeping her in check. We didn’t even bother getting involved because we weren’t trying to catch no shit if the dude came at us. Fuck that, he was filthy. On his oscar the grouch tip. What’s up with people from other places claiming New York City, I heard that really pisses you off? Those people all know who they are. I don’t back it at all. Besides that, no comment haha. Is where you’re from important to you? Would you ever move away from New York? Yeah for sure. I love living in new york and I honestly don’t have any desire to live anywhere else. I have pretty much everything I need here.
Joes pizza has the best slice in the city hands down. Gotta get that shit well done. Pizza Classica has the best chicken roll I’ve ever had, that spots a few blocks from my crib. Not many people know about it because it’s so far from everything. And the Meatball Shop is poppin’ as fuck! You can go there and just freestyle what type of meatball sub you want. They have all different types of meatballs and they’re all delicious. There’s just so many great places to eat in New York it’s hard to mention them all. All those places are pretty cheap by the way. I try my best to eat good for cheap. The weather has been pretty bad out there this winter, what have you been doing to keep sane? Yeah man, we keep getting hit with snow, can’t catch a break. So since I can’t skate I’ve just been working at DQM and doing any other random work that comes my way. When I’m not working I’m just chillin with my girl or some friends. A lot of beer drinking goes on in the winter! Shout out to the Gonyon family, my girl Rebekah, the 5boro fam, DQM, Nike, and all the homies.
PHOTO: TAKE TOMO
SIZES: 5.0", 5.25", 5.5"
Photography by Kazuhiro Terauchi Interview by Graham Tait
What is Park Deli all about, what do you do, and how long have you been doing it? Park Delicatessen was founded in 2008 by Michael J. Sclafani, and Valentine Leung, both veterans of the fashion industry. Initially Park Deli was going to be a working studio for us to run our businesses out of, but things changed and we decided to be a full time retail shop. The name Park Delicatessen comes from what this location once was. We wanted to keep the integrity of what a Delicatessen is and carry it through in everything we do, skateboarding, flowers, and dry goods. We are a direct account skate shop, and we keep it as simple as possible by avoiding any fads, or super mainstream brands. Art direction is the first thing we look at when deciding what decks to bring in. We are also a full service florist offering deliveries anywhere in NYC, as well as flowers for weddings and special events. It`s often joked that dry goods is a licence to be whatever we want it to be. However, its a mix of new and old, hand made, some things local to us and some local to others, high quality art supplies, men’s and ladies apparel. Our cap selection is one of the best in Brooklyn. Every item is thoughtfully selected with a huge emphasis on not being able to see items from our collection in another shop. All of the art that we do is done in house, with a lot of help from friends. Park Delicatessen is about being creative every day of the week. We have been in this space since Dec. 2008, and open for businesses since March 26 2009.
How did you come up with such a unique idea? The Idea for this type of mixed use shop was born from needing studio space to work out of. Originally we were going to do just skateboarding, then added vintage items, and when we found this space, decided to also do flowers because of the 1950s enamel and chrome walk in cooler that was in the space from a previous tenant named Park Delicatessen. The cooler didn’t work for our needs so we turned it into a cap display case. It’s quite refreshing to hear that you try not to follow any fads, especially now with a lot of shops struggling. What do you think gives you the freedom to do that? A lot of shops need to sell the more popular items to stay afloat. For us, being a florist has allowed us to be a skate shop. Most skateshops rely on footwear to carry the skateshop. We rely on flowers. There is no conceivable way to exist as a skateshop solely selling skateboards. While our core customers expect find Palace, or Isle on the board wall, we sill maintain with our big distros as well. Girl, and Deluxe are well represented in our shop. It’s more of the energy drink/stadium contest thing we tend to avoid.
I didn’t realise that flowers were your biggest seller. Is there a lot of wastage, the shelf life of flowers isn’t that long? For sure, flowers are the most important part of Park Delicatessen. There is a saying we adhere to about how anyone can learn to arrange flowers, but it takes a florist to know how to keep them alive. More then half of the flowers that come through our door never hit the sales floor. Most are allocated for special events, weddings and our weekly accounts. Also people have been very kind to us in online reviews and appreciate the work that we do, so we get orders from around the globe and deliver flowers all over NYC. But similar to our skateboarding buys, we are very particular about what flowers we sell. We deal with 8 different wholesalers in the NYC flower market and are in the market sometimes 5 days a week always at 5:30 AM. So not only are we getting the freshest possible cuts, but we are getting the most beautiful flowers in New York. So to answer your question in short form, no, we have very little waste. You talk about being creative everyday, are there any other projects or ideas that you would like to do? Do you have time? 5:30AM wake up calls are brutal! Wake up is at 4:45! Have to be in the market by 5:30 haha. Since our opening we have been doing alot of our own stuff. We always wanted to avoid doing “shop tee” or “shop deck”. We felt that anyone can just slap a logo on something and call it there own. So we dig deeper get inspired and make art. On our Second Deck design we worked with an amazing illustrator from England Named Kate Prior. We showed her the inspiration, and let her go to work. In the end we were stoked with the outcome. We produced a commercial, the deck, and a sticker to bring it all together. The commercial put a visual to the inspiration, rather then here is our new deck, skate one.
At the end of 2013 we started to take all of the men`s clothing we had been producing under the Park Delicatessen label and put it together in a cohesive collection called Deli.. Deli. will be released on the same callender as the major fashion brands, and will be available in our shop and online at ParkDelibk.com. it is mainly an accessories collection with a few clothing items sprinkled in. For 2014 we will be working with some new artists for both Deli. and Park Delicatessen. We are also in the process of filming a skateboard promo video that will be out for spring 14. We are not the “coming soon” type, when a project is done we will let people know. As far as time goes, I do wish we had more time to travel and get inspired. It sucks sometimes not being able to see and do things as a family. Last year Valentine traveled to San Francisco with our son to visit with his cousins, I was bummed I didn’t get to go on that trip. But it is what it is, and hopefully in 2014 we will get some more help around the shop. I would also like more time in my studio to sketch. The more time we spend with a pencil in our hands and not using Adobe Illustrator the better our art will be.
Rider: Max Frion Photography by Florian Lanni
Pontus Alv: Front Wall Ride, Photo Henry Kingsford
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Portrait by Brian Goodhart Interview by Graham Tait
You’ve recently moved to New York. What was your reasons for moving there and how are you finding it? The move was very convenient. I was traveling up here for work 4-5 days a week from Philly, right around the time my lease was up. My roommate, Jordan Trahan was in the opposite situation where he had somebody moving out of his apt. a month prior. After living in Philly for over 7 years, I was unsure if signing another lease was a good idea as I wanted a change in pace. I got lucky with having such an easy move. It has been great thus far. The skate photography has changed a bit since, in Philly you could sporadically go grab your bag, skate downtown, leave your car somewhere etc. Where in NY I need to plan my day around it. It’s so much bigger here where if I’m taking the subway while out shooting, I might be stuck with carrying my bag the rest of the day and into the evening, but driving could be even more of a hassle. I don’t consider that a problem though as you really do have endless urban places to see. I see myself staying here for a while. Carrying equipment around all day is a pain in the ass, have you ever thought about down sizing? I want to, last night I even emptied my bag with that goal but I just can’t. Shooting skateboarding the way I like to right now requires a variety of gear. Now I don’t necessarily use it all every time I go out, but I’d rather be prepared than have my photo suffer from being lazy. I don’t make a living off of skateboard photography, and it costs me a lot of money to do it so I figure if I don’t put out work I’m proud of then what’s the point? It’s also the work I’m most passionate about doing my way, skating is so sporadic that to photograph it you have to be 100% self sufficient and with that comes knowing what you want.
You had a ‘Shoot All Skaters’ feature on The Berrics, how did that come about? One of my good friends from Philly, Chris Mulhern does documentary style video projects for them. I know most people think of mainstream media when they think of The Berrics, but in my experience they generously sold prints for me without taking a cut and supported Mulhern on the project so in all it was a good experience. What’s your take on all these TF’s? They don’t make for interesting photography. It depends. I’m getting older along with most of my friends who I shoot, and I think mutually it can take more warm- ing up to feel out where to go skate. It can go both ways, but often times they help shooting elsewhere, as everyone you’re with can ‘train’ and figure out where they’d like to go. Organic TF’s that have developed from nothing are still cool for documenting evolution, and history of people who go through. But those photos usually need age for me to appreciate them. I try to shoot everything with that in mind, but I don’t consider them when it comes to my more traditional skate photography. My favorite part of TF’s is that I’ll actually skate, at this point most people I go out shooting with are skating spots that I can’t skate for a variety of reasons haha, but its always fun skating some flat with the homies. It’s really hard to sell photos when you’re working freelance, and like you said, you’re not making a living from it. Does it bum you out when you have rad photos but no one wants them? I don’t get offended when my photos get turned down, but sometimes it’s disheartening to see what makes the cut. Regardless, I just like shooting.
Adam Hribar - Smith
Ishod Wair - Boardslide to Boardslide
Daniel Kim - Nosebonk
It is disheartening especially when you know how hard someone has battled for a trick. I guess that’s always been the way, established pro does a lazy trick and gets coverage, and unknown guy kills it and doesn’t make the cut. I’ve even heard of photographers getting so bummed on the industry side of things that they’ve quit. Have you ever thought about throwing in the towel? The content of skate magazines overall today is disheartening. Sometimes I question if it’s me not being 14 years old anymore, but then I look back at old issues of that era and it’s so inspiring. The content, photographically was so advanced. I remember the first time I noticed how amazing skateboard photography is was when I was a ‘filmer,’ and my friend Dan Zaslavsky was shooting a photo, it was about 10 years ago. This was right when he got his position at SLAP. Just seeing how guerrilla he did it, between hiding flashes behind 2” wide polls, metering probably 6 at a time, all while checking exposure through polaroids. I think within 2 exposures he was shooting the final setup. Just seeing how careful and forward thinking you have to be to shoot skating was enlightening. Months later the photo came out in print and I was blown away. With that said, the photographer in me doesn’t mind when a basic trick makes the cut if the visual quality carries it beyond difficulty of skating in the image. Unfortunately, I rarely get that feeling from skate mags today. Not to say it never happens because there are a handful of photographers that keep me subscribing to magazines solely with hopes to seeing their work, but it’s depressing when pages of a magazine hurt the environment more than positively display skateboarding.
Dan Pensyl - Fs Noseblunt
Armin Bachman - No Comply Wallie
What photographers inspire you and for what reasons? Within skating, Éric Antoine, Oliver Barton, Allen Ying, Jean Feil, French Fred, Sam Ashley. I’m sure I’m leaving some out, but all of them shoot so well and have distinct styles. I like when photographers in skating have a unique precision to their work, where there’s enough consistency in their quality where some character shines through. Whether it be Jean Feil’s experimental work in skating, Barton’s amazingly technical and beautiful imagery or Sam Ashley redefining his look in the digital world it’s nice to see a few people who still have the passion. There’s plenty of others who are also in this category but they are definitely in my top 10. Beyond skating, Frank Ockenfels, Nadav Kander, Mark Hartmann, & Dan Zvereff continue to inspire me. They all do a great job showing the locations of their photos from a new perspective, be it travel based or Ockenfels bringing you into a mental location with a studio portrait. We’ve lost a couple of good Magazines in the last few years, with Color and Skateboarder being the most recent. Do you think print is slowly dying out?
Chris Wimer - Bs Noseblunt
I think the business of print is struggling because the there’s such an abundance of modern resources distracting people by having on the surface, similar content. Appreciation for print is still there, the effort to seek it out isn’t. What’s killing magazines is conforming their print content to compete with the direction of the web. Especially in skateboarding. I don’t understand why pages are sacrificed to being current with the ‘flash in the pan’ happenings of the industry. When I pick up a magazine it’s because I want an experience, not the print version of some pop-culture which fits more appropriately online. I don’t have enough knowledge of what led up to Skateboarder & Color going out of business to speak to it, but I was sad to see them go.
There’s definitely been more Independent print zines popping up, do you think it’s because it’s easier to do or are people looking for something a bit different? It’s not easier. Skateboarding has just become so mass-marketed to be profitable that the culture seems foreign. I went to Street League last year, and the kid ahead of me was whining to his dad to get all of the memorabilia, his dad knew all of the players, and they were waving their arms like magic wands frustrated when things didn’t go as planned. This kid was, about 16 years old, and for various reasons it was clear he did little skating. He obviously knew about it through the media, and probably paid a depressing amount to be in an arena to watch it. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s rad that some of my friends will most likely retire from skateboarding. It’s amazing actually. But the majority of people my age didn’t grew up with that. There were hidden gems of content in skateboarding that you had to wait for, and I’m psyched that there are some insanely motivated people who help keep that feeling alive for the rest of us who can’t relate to what the industry is focused on today. You’ve been working with a new brand Caste, can you tell us more about this and how you got involved? Caste is a brand that produces visual content and menswear. It’s a collaborative effort, where my contribution is primarily photography with some video & motion graphics. Everyone involved has been friends for ages, and we all use it as a creative outlet to make a brand we’re proud of. Beyond those involved on the daily, we’re always working with friends of ours. I suppose in short, we’re using Caste to do what we’re good at and enjoy so it’s done well. We also support people who are doing the same, ranging from artist features to skate videos to those who produce our garments, working with others who are passionate about their craft leads to good things.
Conor McCue - Gap to Backtail
Sounds like a lot of thought and effort is going into the project, I’m excited to see what content you guys put out. Filmer Chris Mulhern is part of the project too right? Yeah, he’s all of the above. Every project we take on, at least one of us is directly interested in the subject matter, person or garment. Mulhern creates visuals that live beyond a surge of temporary internet hype. I think with his recent artist feature on Zach Armstrong it should bring some clarity to where Caste content stands among the brand. We’re not producing media with our own retail items as subjects to drive sales, nor are we a skate brand. It’s a lot more fun focusing on others and whether or not people are supporting Caste with purchases we can at least be confident that Caste offers the world something that doesn’t end with a difference of taste in dress code.
Do you have anything else planned for this year? I hope another Haiti trip will happen, or something of a similar nature. With how immersed I am in skate photography, branching out is refreshing. 2013 was great as it was the first year I really sought after working outside of skating as freelance. If I can work with some homies and help put out content & garments with Caste, all while learning I’ll consider 2014 another good year.
You just came back from Haiti, why were you there? I went there for Fish 4 Hope & Food For the Poor’s partnership to create an awareness video for Fish 4 Hope, a new organization. It was amazing to experience the excitement and appreciation of the Haitian people while seeing where they came from. We went to some of the worst slums in Haiti, places I’d never have access to without the support of FFTP. To describe how deprived they’re living is impossible, you need to see, smell and listen to it in front of you. I really want to go back now, after digesting the trip and seeing the workflow on the photo/ video end I have so many ideas I’d like to document. I guess I was naive to the fact that there’s less skepticism from strangers while documenting in third world countries. In fact, it’s to their benefit to expose their hardships. I’m still happy with what I shot but next trip I’ll know that part of the duty is exposing humanity, since it’s a gruesome reality over there.
Brian Clarke - Nollie Crook
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