words: k. guilford • editing: a. ryerson • photos: s. engler • d. johns • j. pagan
August 18th, 2011. It’s 3 AM. (Wild) Bill and myself (Kyle Guilford) sit on our porch drinking heavily. We’re talking about how sweet it would be to go to Brooklyn, NY for Billy O’Neill’s Invitational (2 days before the event, we’re in Florida mind you). In between one bottle cap and another, “want to go?” “Yeah, you?” “Yes.” Game over. Within minutes tickets were booked, phone calls were made, and the next thing I knew we were at Orlando International Airport emptying our pockets of contraband to make it safely through security. Our good buddies David Johns and Jesse Pagan (P.I.M.P.) agreed to join us on this masquerade. The flight goes by in a wink. There’s just enough time for Jesse to buy us Jack and Cokes on the flight, at 9 in the AM. Then: runway and the sobering rough landing that we are all accustomed to.
A quick phone call was made to Shawn Engler (Gangster) for directions through the maze that is the NYC metro system into Bed-Stuy (DO or DIE), Brooklyn. Anyone who’s been to the Big Apple knows it’s not easy to find your way around the city. But we ain’t no bitches. Like clockwork, 20 minutes later we were in front of Shawn’s with all (mischievous) handshakes and (devilish) smiles. Shawn shows us into his rad pad and immediately leaves, returning 30 minutes later with a car he rented so he could more easily exploit our skating talents. Then we were off to tear up the streets. We went to two spots by the house but then it was off to Manhattan to meet with James Johnson (Revolution), X-rated and Jorell Davis from Arizona. We had a quick meet and greet at Wall St. ledges, but security got the drop on us before we could even warm up. Parking lot pimpin’, we decided on mid-town. Where ever that was. We ended up getting stuck in rush hour traffic and loosing the people that we were supposed to be following. Fail. Time to get out of Dodge.
After two hours of Shawn driving like a bat out of hell, twisting and turning some of the shadiest maneuvers ever witnessed, Shawn used his nightrider driving skills to get us on track to the East River Bar in Williamsburg, BK to meet up with Alex Ryerson, Joey Chase and the Shima guys to get some drinks. But on the way there we spot a sick obstacle, impossible to pass up. An angle iron loading dock ledge with the most bent up, high, worthless piece of metal to skate but they weren’t taking “no” for an answer. David Johns and Wild Bill pulled some sweet pics, the ladies approved. A short celebration and it was back to the plan…. BAR! We arrived at the East River Bar in Brooklyn for a long night of swapping stories; bullshitting with old and soon to be friends. Jesse Pagan treated everyone to a round of whiskey shots like a TRUE G. A perfect way to start off this epic weekend. After a few rounds of pool (Ryerson murders), what seemed to be the whole bar retreated to Alex & Ryan Many’s rooftop for a nightcap.
Alex & Ryan’s spot is prime, a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline from his roof and sexy girls everywhere. At some point in the night Joey Chase fell down some wet elevator shaft stairs, no idea when or how it happened but I remember it. After a long while of hootin’ and hollerin’ Shawn, James and Jorell went to grab the car to swoop us up. Meanwhile, X, David, Bill and I sat on a curb eating bodega sandwiches while a street sweeper dusted us with some of Brooklyn’s finest. The car showed up and it dawned on us that we were eight deep in a four door baby dick sedan. We somehow managed to fit and made it home just fine (aside from Shawn getting his jollies off by hitting every speed hump and pot hole he could find), crushing our friendships closer together than ever before.
The morning after was a foggy one, I found myself getting up and wondering into Shawn’s roommate’s room(Sorry Billy ). Half dead, half-baked, and half stupid I tried to get in the roommate’s bed (while he was in it). Terrified, the poor guy just kept asking who I was and what I was doing in his room, to that I replied, “Relax dude I work here”. I sat on the edge of Billy’s bed trying figure everything out. Embarrassment kicked in, I realized I slept in the living room and that I’m in New York, so I apologized and dragged ass back to the living room floor. After everybody woke up and had their laughs at my expense, we peeled out to go skate.
First spot of the day was a rail in a park by Shawn’s house. Jorell and Wild Bill both handled biz there, then it was deep in to Brooklyn with just our skates, no car (at least 5 miles, DAMN you James). We met Jeremy Spira half way to the first spot, where Jeremy and James sessioned a disaster flat ledge. Down the street, David and Jeremy sessioned a gap to bank. Both were rad spots right next to each other. Then it was back to cruisin’. We ended up at Brooklyn hospital to meet up with Josh Diaz (Josue Diaz, owner of Psyko Clothing) with his car to help lighten the load on our way to Tri State Skate Park. We found ourselves stuck in more NYC traffic that turned out to be worth every mile. It was one of the dopest skate sessions I’ve ever been apart of. Everyone was laughing and lacing tricks and just having a good time, thanks to Greg Kieffer. After a long session consisting of the Shima crew, the Arizona dudes and the FL boys it was time to grub. After a fine meal at Williamsburger it was back to Alex’s rooftop. Which had already become too crazy, there were three times the amount of people than the night before. After some good byes and a couple drinks… and Jessie getting over 40 girls he saw on the street to take a picture with a sunflower, no exaggeration. We went on a quick beer run and commence to cramp 8 deep once again. To the house we went. “My mind is telling me no but my body, my body’s telling me yes!” rang out in the crammed car followed by a round of laughs lasting the rest of the car ride home. Ever played Chinese fire drill in a sardine can? David, Shawn and I burned the midnight oil taking pictures on Shawn’s rooftop ‘til dawn.
The day of the event we woke up in much hast due to the long night before. We all rushed to get to the contest by one o’ clock. Once again piling in to the car like circus clowns. We arrived at the event sight, which was under the BQE in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. What we saw was motivating to say the least. Kids, grown-ups, bikers, men and women of all ages included. Not to mention the innocent bystanders getting wind of our Swag, it was intense. You could only be apart of something like this in New York. On top of Billy’s buck wild event, there was a legit car show on the other side of the street harboring all walks of life, our kind and there’s mixing together, keeping the melting pot of NYC stirred. As the tension thickened and the masses grew, the first round began. Bill and Jessie took the high road and posted up on the top of a broke down SUV. David and X-rated threw on their designated (and stylish) media vests and went balls deep with the rest of the jackals to film. I needed a closer look so I quickly got hustled my own front row access. From there I watched all the amazing tricks and styles that flew through the course. Each round progressively got faster and more aggressive. It kept that pace up through the Finals. For the final round I took the high road upon a busted ass SUV with Bill, Josh and Shawn. Drinking beers with the dudes, watching it all go down at eye level. When it was all said and done, Broskow took it. All and all it was one of the best judged and well put together contests in my 14 years of blading. My hat goes off to Billy O’Neill and anyone else involved. If your gonna to do it, do it right. And Billy sure as hell did.
Keeping up the routine we regrouped at Alex & Ryan’s, something like 15 dudes stayed there for a week (RedRum). Alex and his roommate Ryan are fucking BOSSES. We walked to get some good ol’ fashioned Pizza at Brooklyn ZA and I used their clean sink to “wash my balls off in.” Sadly the cute girl at the register over heard me talking about cleaning my junk in their sink and I think she threw up in her mouth a bit. The after party for the competition was at Good Company bar only a couple blocks down the way. Greeted with free Brooklyn lager just for skating or being a “der” as someone referred to it earlier in the day. We witnessed a perfect game of oversized Jenga, played by Alex Ryerson and Chris Dafick. There were absolutely no moves left to be made. I didn’t think that was possible, BUT IT IS. The place was overrun with skaters within 30 minutes. Keeping up the trend of the trip we all had a bit too much booze (enough to kill a llama) but we were bound to keep it going. Lonnie Gallegos caught wind of a rooftop party and spilled the beans to Alex. After Alex almost fought the biggest dude at the bar for calling Trudy a bitch, he rounded up what troops he could and commandeered the stranger’s rooftop party for our own. We did the roof top thing for an hour or two, and then called it a night, there were still plenty of people who stayed on the roof through the morning.
Our last real day of skating was upon us, David and Jessie were leaving at 6 am the next day and Bill and I at 5:45pm so we made it count. We met up with Justin and some Jersey dudes (Justin Brasco, Joey Scannella, & Adam Caroselli) in Red Hook, which was awesome because we all wanted to see the statue of liberty and it’s right there. Lots of good skating went down and Wild Bill proves that no man can sweat as much as he can, ever (EVER). Eventually rain settled in, so it was time to get some food. Somehow I got into an argument with a native New Yorker cook, and after a short lecture on what a “square” was and how to order a square pizza, I deciphered him calling me a ganoosh! Which means gay according to www.urbandictionary.com!
This photographer, much like the MacGyver of photographers was out to catch a rainy day photo of James Johnson and David Johns. Shawn Engler (the MacGyver of photographers) whipped out his newly acquired umbrella and put bags over the flashes like a true professional. After all the biz was handled, Jorell, X-rated and James took the subway home to help lighten the load once again on the poor sedan. As we arrive at the house still laughing about some raunchy conversation we just had, we began to get ready for the Lone Wolf. THOR! Shawn had been talking about this bar since day one. We met Josh Diaz there, plenty shots and Guinness beer was had, as well as good times. The same could not be said for Shawn who found himself sleeping, nestled comfortably on the floor “some times it just calls your name”. None of the skating I saw on the trip was more impressive than seeing Shawn get into the cab. HILARIOUS! But we weren’t satisfied, not yet. So the rest of us headed to the levee bar which was fun because it was just us Florida kids: Me, Wild Bill, David, Jessie, and X-rated reminiscing and soaking up the night rays on our last evening in New York City. Around five in the morning the bartender put our last round of brew in koozies and in a grocery bag and set us loose on the streets. David, at that point was getting nervous because Jesse had walked a girl home an hour ago and wasn’t back yet and it was pushing 5:15 am, they needed to be to the airport by 6am. Wild Bill was asleep on the sidewalk, and X-rated was dancing for some reason ( Stir that POT X), David was calling a cab and I was hanging out with a “friend” I met at the contest. Around 5:30 Jesse shows up and everyone piled in the cab, I chose to stay behind to have my own “adventure.” Winning!
David and Jesse made it to the airport in enough time for their flight. I had no idea where I was in the city the next morning but I knew I could count on Shawn and sho nuff’, it took him no time to find me and scoop me up. Love that guy. No homo.
We returned in time to pack up and hit one more spot before getting on the subway to the airport. James, Jorell and I got in a quick last hurrah. In like an hour we were done and back home to grab our bags and say our goodbyes to those remaining. Bill and I found ourselves reminiscing before we even got on the A train to JFK.
New York, I can speak for everyone from Florida when I say this was the best trip I’ve ever have had outside of Florida. The contest, the bars, the laughs, Josh Diaz’s sick workshop and all the new friends we made on this trip were the BEST, for all of this, WE THANK YOU!!!
Jon Jenkins (X-rated)
Josh Diaz (Sarah & the BABY)
Billy O’Neill (Can’t WAIT till next year)
Duncan donuts (America BLADES on Duncan)
Skatelife.tv (Keep it FRESH)
SHAWN ENGLER (Gangster)
The great city of New York.