Skateboarding in NYC isn’t exactly as glamorous as it is in skate videos once the streets are covered in a mix of rock salt, snow and sand, but Williamsburg’s KCDC Skate Shop and Zoo York have teamed up to offer a weekly alternative to dodging debris and puddles of urine under the BQE. Hosted by The Space at 99 Attorney Street and backed by several sponsors, Skate Night debuted last Thursday and provided the NY skate scene with a perfect mini ramp and unlimited PBR, both free of charge. With the shop going strong for over 10 years and Zoo just turning 20, the duo have played a huge part in the local scene.
Zoo York Brand Manager Ben Oleynik said the series popped off after Amy Gunther, owner of KCDC, reached out, and it’s already proven to be a refuge from Old Man Winter. “Some days you can bundle up and just barge it, but other days it’s impossible with snow and the ground being wet,” he told B+B. “If you can’t get out of here during the winters, like most kids can’t, you’re going to end up spending a lot of time watching videos on the couch. That’s why having this space is so sick.”
With another week of brick weather, Thursday is sure to be another packed session, but there’ll be more going on than just grinds and shotgunning beers, as Bronx native and Zoo York amateur “Black” Dave Willis will perform a special birthday set. A former full-time employee at Supreme, Willis has been equally productive on stage as on his board, dropping mix tapes, opening for Cam’ron and recently playing a New Year’s Eve party hosted by Prodigy of Mobb Deep, along with filming hard for a full part and appearing in “King of New York,” Zoo’s latest video by downtown filming legend R.B. Umali.
Pushing around his neighborhood 10 years ago, Willis wasn’t as revered for his skate talents. “Back then, everyone was looking at me like an idiot, telling me how stupid I looked and how much I stood out like a sore thumb,” he said about being one of the only skaters growing up. “It’s funny now because that skateboarding is, so big all of the people from uptown look at me as well as other skaters as influencers!”
Both Oleynik and Willis see Skate Night as more than just a place to hide from the cold and catch a buzz. They mentioned the importance of having a spot — to get people together and vibe out — that’s not about who’s doing the hardest trick. That idea isn’t exclusive to the 21-plus crowd either. Zoo and KCDC are also working with the Harold Hunter Foundation this Saturday at The Space, conducting a youth skate clinic.
As for what to expect from the year older and wiser MC on Thursday night? Willis promised a mix of old and new tracks. Always humble in a brag-heavy game, he’s also eager to share the stage with his crew. “At every show I bring my homies, The Stone Roller Skate Gang, a group of youthful skaters that also make music,” Willis said. “D stunna, Slicky Boy, William Wilson, Olaawave, and myself. They are all New York born and raised and all new to music, but take it just as serious as anything else we have going on in life.”