The Neverending Hill

25 03 2009

grandpa longboard

When I first saw this dude, I couldn’t believe it- I always wanted to meet Tony Hawk. However on further inspection, he was just a geriatric longboarder with neon orthopedic skate sneakers. Although those are his regular old man pants, they are often confused with cargo capris. And much like my friend carrying an empty guitar case around posing as a sensitive musician to pick up women, I suspect this old fella got a fresh batch of Viagra and decided to use his grandson’s board and sneaks to pick up some horny fat chicks.

This brings me to my recent discovery of the illest spot in the Heights to cruise, the Neverending Hill (aka the Deja Vous Loop in my Maps section).  You start on 181st and ride down Bennet, a nice long gradual hill dropping about a hundred feet in elevation over nine blocks. When you make it to the bottom, simply walk into the tunnel to the A train at 190th Street, take the elevator to the top of the hill, and ride it again. At the top of the hill you can go right to do the Fort Tryon Loop, or left and another left for a huge hill on Overlook Terrace that cuts back to Bennett and back to the elevator. Its like you’re in a theme park after hours, and after getting off the ride, you walk around to the other side and ride it again.

You do go down against traffic on the one way that is Bennet, but cars go slow, are few and far between (especially late at night) and keep you on your toes to say the least. This little cut and usage of the elevator to bring you from just above sea level to the second highest natural point of elevation in Manhattan at 260 feet (Bennet Park just down Ft. Wash has a rock and a plaque acclaiming its 265.05 feet of elevation, and then an inappropriate joke about how stinky the British are).

Bottom line is make your way up to the Heights on the A train and check out a quick downhill and the free ride back to the top.

bennet park, washington heights

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Saturday’s RatRod Sprint Race…

16 03 2009

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Saturday was a ridiculously nice day, and a great day to ride. About 20 heads showed up in the East Village to race at Tompkins and fuck around at the Brooklyn Banks. Bustin’Boards was well represented, as were an eclectic group of random short and longboarders. Ideally this will become a weekly tradition on either Saturday or Sunday all summer long, and all are welcome to attend. Check the Events section for a detailed map of the drag race route through the windy and crowded Tompkins Square Park, so you can start training for the two lap drag race now. Time to beat is something like 2 minutes 11 seconds by Mike Dallas. I had to bounce before making it to the Banks, but pics from that session to come soon. Check out video footage on the Bustin’Blog.

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As if spawned by a Tony Hawk game, this flatbed appeared and was irresistible. 5241ced2e89cdd84e7a08224





Customizing your Deck

11 03 2009

Adding your personal sense of style and favorite colors to your deck is essential. It sucks to find a great board with a lame graphic or vice versa. Any boring deck is converted easily with some spray paint, but then what? Some can hand paint lettering or images, make stencils, or even glue a collage to the bottom… However, not everyone is an artist, and has the time or skill to do so. That’s why I was thrilled to find one of my favorite local longboard companies allows you to customize your deck on their website.

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Bustin’ Boards holds it down in Hoboken, NJ and NYC. If you check out their site, you can go to town on their Strike, Sojourn, Spliff and Cigar boards- you can choose a graphic, several layers of color for the graphic and deck, color of the wood stain, grip tape and Bustin’ logo. It is a lot of fun, and most of the boards have enough space for you to add your own art as well post production. These are great boards, so check out the site and tinker with your own unique longboard.





Jersey Outlaw Race and Coppers

11 03 2009

About a week ago longboarders pushed across the GW Bridge to Fort Lee Park in Dirty Jersey for the Outlaw downhill and slide contests. Unfortunately I had to work, and couldn’t make it to the event in one of my favorite parks to ride. I used to live in Washington Heights and often rode the GW. As far as bridges go, it’s pretty flat, with a very mild incline towards Jersey. On the other side is a great park that snakes its way down the cliffs to the Hudson (In my maps section I have detailed the exact route). There are some big hills to bomb on the way down, and very few cars heading down to the park.

Apparently the race and slide contest went pretty well, with about 50 riders or so showing up to compete. I really like this pic from freshpaved.com.

Longboard Skate, DH and slide comp
My first experience in this park was less than enjoyable, and lead to a waste of my Monday at the Palisades Park Court. One frigid Saturday afternoon I skated across the bridge with my homeboys Q’bn and Daley. There was snow on the ground and it was about 20 degrees. As the sun was setting, we entered the top of the park and bombed all the way down. The river was partly frozen and looked gorgeous in the lights of the bridge.

shitty camera phone pic of frozen jerseybeach

We headed up the snow covered stairs that leads directly to the top of the park, and came to a small stone tunnel. Sensing danger, I turned to my friends and told them to keep their wits about them as we followed the trail in. As we emerged on the other side, we find flashlights shining in our eyes and what appeared to be cops yelling at us. We are rather confused, and at their insistence follow them up the last few flights of stairs. The two dickheads try and poke in our pockets (insisting they are “allowed to be touchy-feely”) and ask us what illegal activities we were engaging in. After a bit of ridiculous harassment and an refusal to believe we would be out enjoying the brisk winter weather on our longboards in the “highly dangerous” conditions, they finally tell us we are trespassing, since the park closes at dusk (it was about an hour after dusk). Although we hadn’t seen any signs to indicate that, it seemed quite cleat that we were leaving and if indeed that was the rule, we had broken it unintentionally. The scumbag cop said we made several good points, but was still writing us tickets- it was the only way people learn. I diplomatically discussed the ridiculous nature of his position to no avail. They kept us standing in the below freezing temps for over a half hour, and then gave us a ride out of the park to the bridge.

On the way out, I asked where the sign with the hours were, so when we argued our innocence in court, our story would be corroborated. He didn’t know where it was, but insisted that knowing parks close at dusk is like knowing to stop at a red light- you didn’t need a sign to tell you that, you just know. His profoundly retarded logic left me speechless. As Q’bn returned the next afternoon with his camera, he found an obscured sign reading “Park closes ONE HOUR AFTER DUSK.” Fucking douchebags. We went to court that Monday to plead our innocence. The place looked like a park visitor’s center, but apparently was a court/police station/stable. Court was in session from 3-4:15 Monday through Wednesday (as inconvenient as possible). While waiting for it to open, we met a plethora of people with bullshit charges handed out by jerk-off cops. Our case was third and quickly dismissed. This is my second longboard related summons that was dismissed without hesitation by the judge. The point of this long narrative is that Ft. Lee Park is awesome, but watch out for asshole Jersey cops.
For videos of cops being dicks to skaters, check out Uncoached.





Customizing your Longboard

1 03 2009

As I pushed off from First Ave and 3rd St. over to Avenue A and Thompkins Square Park those first few times to learn how to skate, even then I realized the Importance of customizing your longboard. There are so many changes and modifications you can make to adapt to not only your riding style, but also your environment. Learning how to skate on the streets of the LES is like a pigeon being born mid-flight at 700 feet and having to figure out the flying thing with a sense of urgency, as it plummets towards a chunky Midwestern girl trying to hail a cab in front of the Times Square Red Lobster.

The first few times were a little scary but a tremendous amount of fun- it was avoiding cabs and challenging buses, dodging bikers with pizzas and crazy fucking pedestrians, and swerving to avoid potholes and subway grates as you wildly burn through red lights. It became evident that maneuverability was of utmost Importance, and it was crucial to tinker with your longboard setup. This means everything from wheels to trucks to shape to grip tape. These are some friend’s boards that are unique expressions of form, function and art.

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Theseus Williams (featured in above video) and his reborn Loaded Pintail are a dangerous duo. It was on this board the towering Korean carpenter rode t o a record breaking victory at the 2008 Broadway Bomb. When I stopped by his crib last week, I got to check out the latest modifications. The steampunk inspired deck sports a hand painted brassy bonsai sun on the bottom, and a sleek copper double pinstripe on top. It also features altered trucks, copper washers and wheels

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(Earthwing Superballs 78 mm), a custom brass bumper, and a pair of Devil’s Tails on the bottom (middle). This remarkable bamboo board is both quick and responsive, and ideal for the urban ride.

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The next custom longboard was hand crafted by my buddy Q’bn. This creation was inspired by his first board, a chubby shortboard from the early 90’s built to carve a turkey. Shaped from a piece of 1” birch ply rumored to have been struck by lightning on two nonconsecutive occasions, this board is solid. The underside has additional woodworking around the wheel wells to prevent wheel-bite when viciously carving, a light wood stain and inlaid wax design and a mismatched set of Earthwing Superballs (clearly a popular NYC wheel for a variety of reasons). This board cruises down the street like a pirate ship, vigilantly patrolling the hills of Wash Heights, and is the first of many Q’bn creations.

Fuck generic stock boards with cheesy graphics- this is NYC, and if you don’t personalize your board, you’re just another cog in the machine. Next time I will get to work on my Sector 9 and customize my grip tape, paint the deck, and add a few lights to my longboard….if anyone wants to share their unique longboard modifications, add a comment or shoot me an email.