Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
years in existence: 1997-2008
this is another shop that has quite a long history/story....i'll try and start with my first memories of this jam as well. i kinda remember calling information (when's the last time you did that?) 'cause i heard there was a new skateshop in somerville. i'm pretty sure it was just opening up at that point and i think i got the number, called up and went over there that weekend to get a new board. remember, this was back when i was a sophomore in high school. i had to get my mom to drive my ass to even check this place out! i know i had high hopes that this would hopefully be a suitable replacement for wasteland.
that first trip to unreal was amazing, to say the least. i had been getting decks from mail order catalogs like ccs and intensity (remember that shiz?) so it was refreshing to actually go to a store and pick something off the wall. i think i bought a new complete; pretty sure it was a purple powell blank with either some grind king/venture trucks and some blank wheels (probably 54mm.) this was the start of a very long relationship....
the unreal crew were always good to me and the ftown crew. we got to know the guys pretty well from always being in the shop and the occasional times we would meet up and have a sesh (waaay back when skating somerville was rad and when hillsborough built the skatepark.) i remember skating the raritan mall and someone telling me that steve lawson kickflipped the really narrow double-set of stairs (only the first set, but still..) sometimes i saw them at hackettstown, where they even had a shop for a short time (bonus points if you remember that one!) i even went to rvcc with one of the owners, ed kemp, for a short time. craig was always a good dude with hooking us up with blanks for $30 and one time i think i got one for like $26 (vip treatment all the way.) needless to say they were good dudes and were down from the beginning.
the shop itself was huge for a good while, kids were buying shit up like hotcakes if you went in there on a saturday. it definitely rode the wave of skateboarding up until like 2003 or 04, when a vans shop opened up in the bridgewater mall and sucked up all their business. at one point the shop had expanded to the store next to it, so the shop was split with skateboarding on one side and rollerblading on the other (super bonus points if you remember that too.) that time of the expansion was pretty short lived, if my memory serves me right.
there was definitely a waning point where when the ftown crew went to college, from 2001 and on, unreal became an afterthought. not living nearby i would stop in everyone once in a while but when the trip was no longer 20 minutes it didn't happen very often. i even photographed an annual report of the store when i was in college, which was pretty fun/random. i'll post some of the photos up once i dig them up, circa 2004.
one of my last memories of the shop was pretty crazy. craig, the dude i mentioned before, hadn't worked there in years and he was randomly at the shop when i popped in (probably like 2004 or 05). we said "what's up" and chatted for a little bit. then, when he went to leave he said, "well, i guess i'll probably never see you again." it was a weird and really sad thing, knowing that part of your life will be over. just thinking back to all the time i spent in that shop hanging with those dudes and then just having it all disappear is a real bummer.
here's to you unreal, may you live on in internet obscurity.
*photos pilfered from unreal's myspace page.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
currently i'm feeling a little crunky and listening to the rolling stones and radiohead....which is making me think of photosynthesis...
i know brian posted about this one already and i commented on his post and vise versa...but, they are amazing openers and closers.
first you've got the rolling stones, "i am waiting" and lastly radiohead's, "polyethelene." two classics if i do say so myself but i'm not talking about just the songs here too. jason dill's section is superb and the opening sequence to this vid is equally impressive. in fact, i'm going to watch it right now. enjoy!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
years in existence: 1994-1996ish?
where do i even begin with this infamous shop? i guess i'll start with the very beginning for myself.
i used to walk by the empty storefront on my way to school everyday, i think it was an antique shop beforehand and a baseball card shop in it's early days. i'm pretty sure i was in sixth grade when i started to see it transform into something different. first, there was paper up on the windows which was a giveaway that something new was coming soon. after a couple weeks or months i think the paper got ripped or came down and i saw something that i thought i would never see in our town...actual graffiti. it was all over the inside walls but i still had no idea what was going to go in there.
around the same time the paper came down the front door started to get left open and you could see daily changes, at least i think that's how it happened... one random day, i was either coming back from school or it was the weekend, i walked by the shop and there was some dude hanging outside. he came up to me and handed me a flyer and told me he was the owner of the shop. he probably asked me if i skated and at the time i hadn't started yet, so i told him, "nope, not really." i had just met marcus mera. (more on this dude later)
it probably took me about a year or so after wasteland opened to actually start skateboarding. a bunch of my friends at the time had already started, so it only made sense that i get a board too. i remember it being a huge deal, dropping $120 bones on a complete. i mean, i was in fucking eighth grade at the time so who knows how long i had been hoarding that money.
i plunked down my clams and then came the decision of what deck, trucks and wheels to get. i had no idea as far as the size of the board or what wheel size to get but luckily i had a friend with me. i picked out a planet earth deck (a white board with leaves as a graphic), venture trucks and nicotine wheels (i think.)
back to the shop itself...
this place was like the most hated place in town by adults/the police/a typical f-town resident. it probably didn't help that marcus was definitely coked out, smoked out and drunk the whole time he owned wasteland. to all the skaters and probably any teenager at the time, it was one of the only cool shops in town, period. it didn't matter that it was just a skateshop, the fact that something like it existed in our town was amazing. i can't really remember too many problems with the shop early on, it was open pretty much everyday but whenever marcus felt like opening it up.
in the end, wasteland closed after about 2 years. i think they got evicted or something, the shop just closed and never re-opened. it was the summer of '96 and it left us back to square one, which was mail order catalogs and about a year later, pelican ski shop had a really shitty skate section. granted, there were other skate shops that existed in the area, but this was 1996 and my mom sure as hell wasn't going to drive me to princeton to go buy a deck. i'll never forget those days though, having a skate shop that you could walk to and hang at. it was pretty cool for a 13 year old kid.
marcus did open up another skate shop, it was the extremely short-lived chocolate city in new brunswick. i went there once when i was 15 or 16 with bri and john dunworth. it was pretty sad to see some of the same wheels and stuff that were leftovers from wasteland. in the end, that shop went bust as well. i can only venture a guess it went down about the same way.
*special thanks to mr. maloney for the picture of the flyer*
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
facetown-treatboyz presents: thrill of it all
this one is in response to brian's post with two of my favorite jams as well, welcome to hell and photosynthesis, respectively. this one is definitely a major trip down memory lane. i bought the tape 13 years ago at the now defunct skateshop, Unreal, which was one of the best shops around when i still lived in jersey. this was most definitely the shop for all us f-town skaters. when this place opened up it was a total godsend, we seriously had a haggard-ass ski/snowboard shop that had the most pathetic skateboard section ever. that's right Pelican, i'm talking about you! mail-order catalogs were our only hope, for serious...anyway, i'm getting a little off track here. i think i'll dedicate the next few blogs to the good skateshops, past & present.
back to our classic jam/jem of a video. this was zero's first video and while it doesn't showcase the most amazing skating, for it's time we knew these guys on the team were fucking serious. it does showcase matt mumford's foray into all things "caveman", adrian lopez's kickflip into anything style-before it was really popular too, erik ellington as a young ragamuffin that liked to toss himself down some serious shit, and of course jamie thomas-still non-jesus at the time.
i was kind of shocked when i re-watched this video, i remember it being short but it's literally just under the twenty minute mark! there are short, quick sections for each person but there's impressive tricks in each one. most notably is the "leap of faith" that thomas tries at the end of the video. to this day it's still a fucking insane drop. i remember cutting out the sequence from my transworld magazine and posting that shit up on my wall the minute i saw it. what kid doesn't imagine being able to pull this shit off? it was and still is a completely ridiculous ollie/backside grab over a handrail down like 2 stories. aaron harrison has some steep ollies in this one as well. the slams off the trailer are enough to make you never want to try an ollie like that ever..
be on the lookout for the bum named "lynne." he's a dead ringer for "dog" the bounty hunter. who knows, maybe it was that fool!