Tuesday, March 30, 2010

bygone days

wasteland skateshop
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.

fun fact:
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*

1 comment:

  1. There we go! I can also attest to a first there... While I'd been riding Nash boards for some years prior and my first real set up was an underworld element with Gullwings from Psycho Skates in Morristown, I did get my first pair of legit skate shoes at Wasteland. They were red suede Etnies Scams. Also, once, Marcus left his cigarettes on the wall at Desmares while we were skating. Me and Graham McMahon took them. Marcus quickly realized and came back looking for them, like "Hey, you guys seen my cigarettes?" We said, "Nope." Then we went to my house and smoked them in my room. My mom was fucking so pissed. We were in 5th Grade.

    Sorry, Marcus.