California may get the most shine when it comes to skateboarding, but that’s all about to change. A proposed new magazine plans to focus solely on the culture of skating in New York City. It’s name, Stoops, is a throwback to a time when Supreme was just getting started and New York skate coverage was sparse. The quarterly publication aims to give the unique culture of NYC skating the steady voice it has long deserved.
Headed by Naysayer Skateboards founder and Chinatown local Eby Ghafarian, Stoops’ Kickstarter states the magazine’s vision of “pure” skateboarding. That means photographs shot only in the five boroughs (sorry, Jersey), no portraits, and a full focus of what actually happens on a skateboard (not in bars, art shows, or at San Loco after a flatground session at Tompkins Square Park).
Because of its strong visual focus, Ghafarian enlisted photographer and 43 Magazine editor Allen Ying as photo editor. Ying’s unique eye for capturing skateboarding in unconventional ways has been featured in The New York Times and landed him several cover credits with national skate mags.
“As 43 started to fill the void it was created for, I came to realize this other void,” said Ying about joining Ghafarian to bring Stoops to fruition. “There’s so much sick skating going on here, but very little of the skateboarding is being photographed and shown. It’s like there’s a hole in history, and it’s kind of tragic.”
In addition to their Kickstarter campaign, Ghafarian and Ying are presenting a photography show tomorrow from 8pm-11pm at Hotel Chantelle on the Lower East Side to raise more funds. So throw down a bid via silent auction, enter a raffle, and enjoy some free beer while taking in some frames of true New York City skateboarding. Meanwhile, we caught up with Ghafarian to learn more about Stoops.
New York City doesn’t get much coverage in California magazines, but the little coverage it does get is enough to make thousands of skateboarders visit annually. And that is just scratching at the surface. There is easily a demand for NYC skate content, and an actual need for it. I don’t mean to downplay other cities, but NYC is too important to be simply lumped in with the East Coast. The spots, aesthetics, and culture are unique and the level of skating and creativity here is going unnoticed, or replicated and claimed on the left coast due to our media blackout. We can finally take things into our own hands.
“Stoops” is a term that came out of NYC skate culture over 20 years ago. You even hear it used a couple times in the movie Kids. We chose to name the magazine Stoops as a nod to the fact that there hasn’t been an NYC magazine even though NY skating has roots almost as deep as skateboarding itself. It’s a response to what most people think skating in NYC is like. It shows the critical nature of the skateboarders here and give us a platform to do something about it. It was one of the first names that we came up with and after months of back and fourth, it kept reemerging. It was meant to be. As far as photos go, we are only going to be running skate photos, no lifestyle shots. But there will be a healthy dose of lifestyle coverage in the writing.
The only thing narrow about Stoops is the geographic limitation. The photos are limited to the five boroughs of NYC. However, there are more spots in one borough than some whole states. Outside of that, I would question that claim. The spots are so diverse and in abundance. We are covering locals and natives but also will be covering visiting skaters, who are a very important part of NYC skateboarding. NYC sets the stage for a large mix of skating, with only minor limitations—vert/bowl skating, specifically. Though one of the photos we have for issue one will even have you questioning that.
Strategy. In your typical city you know when you can and can’t skate certain spots, which is limited to: daytime vs. nighttime and weekday vs. weekend. In NYC, it isn’t that easy. Everyone operates on a different schedule. One neighborhood you can only skate before 2 or 3 on weekdays, another you can only skate during the day in the winter, another spot you have Sundays in the summer. Some spots are only available in the colder months because they are too crowded/unsafe otherwise. Some spots are never bust-free so you have to go ready and send other skaters to another part of the spot to run a distraction. Other spots you have to skate during the bustle of rush hour to not get noticed, but good luck navigating through people.
Digital is important for real-time, momentary glimpses of what is happening. You consume and you move on. Maybe it left a mark; otherwise it is simply a blip in your search history. The importance of print is preservation and tangibility. You get to hold the content and own that limited print. Someone invested in printing that content; the publishing process included much more than selecting, uploading, and hitting the “publish” button. When we look back on the present 20 years from now, what will we reference?
Being a skateboarder in NYC, you are always a skateboarder. I notice in a lot of other cities that people almost live these double lives. They are a skateboarder when they are out skating but switch gears when at work or going out. Here we are always on the move so don’t have the time to switch gears. You are going from work straight to skating then off to the bar or an event, and then maybe back to skating. Your skateboard is your way around. You plan your routes around smooth streets, spots to skate along the way and whether you want to run into people along the way or not. While it can happen sometimes, skaters don’t tend to vibe each other out. We all hang out in the same places so even though there are different crews skating separately, you can catch everyone mingling at the bar or some premiere/event at night. I haven’t spent a ton of time in Cali so I can’t speak on it too well, but my perception is that most people do their own thing on a daily basis and only come together for big events. You hardly run into others and you simply drive from spot to spot so don’t have to factor in all the stuff New Yorkers do. There is so much more to being an NYC skater that I could go on forever about it. I posted something on BuzzFeed that kind of’ gives some insight: They jocked me and had one of their staff write a 23 Things NYC Skateboarders Love post that was super corny and “safe.”
The event is going to be rad, I am pretty hyped on it! First, we are having a photo show with some of my favorite photographers: Allen Ying, Jonathan Mehring, and Zander Taketomo. All of the photos will be available through a silent auction with opening bids at $50. I am biased since I curated the show, but I’d love to own pretty much any/all of these photos. We will also have a raffle that anyone who donates will be entered into. We are going to be giving away product from our sponsors. Pabst Blue Ribbon is donating some beer, plus there will be some great drink specials for the event regardless. Plus, DJ Dirty Digits (Scratch Academy) will be spinning some fun tunes. We have the lower level of Hotel Chantelle from 8-11, so get there early for the beer and expect the auction to end around 10. For those who cannot make the event, check out our Kickstarter page: or follow us on Instagram/Twitter.
The Stoops Fundraiser is tomorrow at Hotel Chantelle at 92 Ludlow Street from 8pm-11pm