Over the last several months NYC has been made out to be a deathtrap across the news: overflowing hospitals, looting, and sickness left and right. While there’s truth to all of that, there’s this surreal disconnect between the facts you hear and the day-to-day life as it is for us living here.
Of course, we’re taking precautions to keep ourselves and others healthy, but we’re still here working (remotely), skating (locally), and doing our best to not sound depressed on the phone when you call us.
I know you’re probably burnt out on quarantine related coverage but here are just a couple of photos for you to get a sense of what it was actually like to be in the city from March to June as so many friends left and everything unfolded.
One of the highlights of the lockdown was when we made a box out of Brooklyn leftovers. Usually, if you built something like this and left it in a public park in NYC, yuppies would file a noise complaint and it would disappear by the end of the week. But since they all fled the city to their vacation houses, our box has been around for over 2 months! Skaters: 1 / Complainers: 0.
During the most dead-days of the pandemic, the city felt pretty lawless, which was exciting. Everyone was pretty much drinking, partying, and peeing on the streets freely. Our friend Andrew Murrell had no hesitations jumping right into the fenced off Brooklyn Banks during broad daylight and stealing bricks in front of cops.
Is this what the ’80s & ’90s in NYC felt like? You know, minus the whole crack epidemic.
For the first time ever, all of NYC’s skateparks were closed, which made DIY spots become the new epicenters for skating. There were so many additions being built across NY and NJ it was hard to keep up with all of them. Who knows what this means for the future generations of NY skaters, but I hope we’ll see a bunch more Jerry Mraz types coming up than Street Leaguers because of 2020.
New Yorkers love to complain, so much so we purposefully create things that will be easy to complain about. Here’s a perfect example: Let’s build a skate spot in front of a set of train tracks on doo-doo ground!
Impromptu birthday party for Raspa on the streets! A good birthday used to be inviting all of your best friends to a dinner or bar, doing a buttload of shots, and maybe getting laid at the end of the night. Now you’re just stoked to see a couple of people you loosely know, share a drink on a curb and not get sneezed on during the bike ride home.
Speaking from my experience, good social distancing protocol lasts until about 9 PM, and then the drinks start hitting and 6 feet becomes 6 inches and the masks come flying off. There’s some protection/condom joke to be made here probably, but I’m too fried to make the connection. If you can leave one below and I’ll read it and giggle and keep living my life.
At the height of paranoia when nobody was outside and anti-Chinese vibes were in the air, I took a neurotically sanitized bike ride to Chinatown out of curiosity. It was all closed and boarded up until I got to this community center working to provide free meals to people in need during COVID-19. The line lasted several blocks, which was equally upsetting and hopeful.
During the first week of the Black Lives Matter protests, local favorite Isaac White and the rest of the Homies Network crew came together to organize a group march for the youth in the city. We stopped by and noticed that a lot of the people who showed up were teens or just out of high school, which was a really hopeful sign.
With so many people out of work right now, and school being out for the summer if not longer, it’s almost guaranteed that these demonstrations won’t be over any time soon. (And if you’re going to head to one yourself, here’s a shameless plug to check out our guide here first.)
Ever wonder why pro skaters decorate the bottom of their boards so diligently with certain brand stickers, even when it can look like dogshit? It’s called photo incentive: some brands will pay you extra money if you get a photo in a magazine where their brand sticker is showing on your deck. In other cases, a skater will always have to rep a certain brand on their board, and if they get a photo without it, they may photoshop it in afterward.
Raspa here does not ride for Brixton, but the branding is so clear we might have to bug them about it anyway just to see if they’ll send him a check.
It’s been a wild ride here the last few months, and I’m sure the streets just don’t know what to think. They went from completely empty to completely packed with protesters almost overnight. Of course, we’ve been out there too, but admittedly less fashionably than these two.
Just another day in Midtown NYC.
I know what you really want to know. How’s Jenkem doing? Are we going to go belly up because of the pandemic? Well, honestly, it ain’t been easy, and as the bigger brands have taken a minute to readjust their planning and budgets for the year, our usual advertising dollars aren’t rolling in as confidently as they usually do.
But there’s been a surprising uptick in hardgood sales, so the board brands have actually been spending some money in ads. Feels good to be supporting and working with them more closely again while the big guns wait to get news from the top on what their budgets and strategy are like for the rest of 2020.
We’re with ya’ll, no crystal ball or psychic powers, just taking it day by day.
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