In New York, everything is street riding.
Photos by Austin Augie (lifestyle) & Gregory Moliterno (riding) | Words by Joey Piazza
Article originally printed in DIG MAGAZINE issue #2020 - Dec 2020
In New York, everything is street riding... Drunk at 3am, going to the bodega to get a chopped cheese? That's street riding. On the train dippin' to work in the AM? That's street riding. Meeting the squad to bullshit on the block? That's street riding... if it's part of the master plan... then it's... wait I’m gonna stop right here cause I need to ask a question. Did New York Fall off?
It's been a minute since the spotlight was shined on any riders from the five boroughs. Have we released an extended project? I bet you heard the Brooklyn Banks were on the brink of destruction, and I'm sure you watched plenty of web videos and instagram stories with outta town pros hitting our spots. Over the years so much has changed in the city; the landscape, the level of security, the cost of living... these one bedrooms cost major bread, and Alkaline water isn’t cheap either. There's one thing that has remained the same though; the soul of the New York rider. The concept of street riding has turned into a balancing act of sorts. We're cut from different Gore Tex. While most people try to find the time to ride, in New York, time finds you. We have the luxury of being an East Coast city, and as a reward, we get dark rugged winters, and sweltering hot summers. We pick our battles wisely. In life you gotta adapt and evolve... some people enter and exit BMX cause life gets serious. If you want to get technical we really just ride kid’s bikes, and sometimes you gotta fall back, but there's so much more to it than that... I spent seven years working on "Keep the Change" cause of the way life works; it is what it is.
AM:PM has been around since 2005. What started as light documentation of riding around Union Square, turned into something worldwide - like trips to Asia, the Caribbean, South America and Europe just to eat, drink, ride and chill. As you grow up, riding bikes becomes the excuse to go on trips, yet sometimes you barely ride and just enjoy the environment. AM:PM 4 is unique cause we ventured into new territory; old age... The median age in the new video is probably 34, which is crazy to me… some guys are almost 50. We were the young generation once, and now we're older and still grinding. Besides being old, we're basically the United Nations of BMX... mad cultures have been represented in front of the lens over the years. I coined the new video "Keep the Change," cause everyone can do just that. We paid the bill in "Check, Please." As BMX continues to change, we're gonna continue to do what we do, regardless of what everyone else does.
The future of NYC street riding is bright when you have guys like Dev holding it down. This spot was pretty rugged, plus it was pitch black. I missed stepping in a pile of dog shit by centimetres - it was directly in the middle of the bank. Dev grew up in the ring so his boxing skills were on point for this move... weaving around the gate, dodging the shit, avoiding the cement walls, throwing the bars, and soaking in the flash, all while descending back into darkness.
Straight outta work and into the streets. Chris parked up the dump-truck and hopped on his bike to meet us for this session... Hi-visibility suit and all. We were too close to his crib so I had to holla at him - his work hours are crazy. He travels around the whole city dropping asphalt. Like i said, everything is street riding.
The magician on two wheels, back at it again with another gritty railhop. Johnsson could win the AM:PM lifetime achievement award if there was ever such a competition. He could also win an award for the most ridiculous excuses for not trying a trick; and I quote, "that's an opposite hop for me."
After riding Staten Island all day we figured why not hit Coney Island. Instead of riding the Cyclone, Rob decided to check off this over-grind. Rob always brings heat to the streets - he also delivers it to the hood by repairing NYCHA boilers at 5am. I've seen a lotta dedication over the years, but seeing this dude get busy at 12am, then zip home to Queens to wake up at 4am for manual labor is beyond me. Hard to believe I've known him for years, yet we just started filming for AM:PM in 2020. In New York, the time finds you! Dont forget!
Ralph needs a reality TV show. His stories on the gram whipping around Brownsville are hysterical. His commentary, the wild scenes he witnesses... news stations would love him on their team cause he's always in the mix. Right place, right time kinda flow. This smith grind was first try but it took a minute because we had to stop him from fighting a Harlem OG who was talkin’ shit. Just another regular day for Ralph.
On Road Fools 7, Van Homan solved a BMX math equation by stating that if he can jump a 30 foot gap and knew how to tailwhip, then tailwhipping a 30 foot gap would be possible. I don’t know if Markus ever watched that video, but somewhere down the line he must’ve done the math himself. Replace the tailwhip with tire rides and you have the Markus Theory. What you don’t see in this photo is 1 - the sharp 90 degree turn. 2 - the fence before the rail. 3 - his tire ride up the rail moments before... what a savage!
The first rule of fight club; you don’t talk about fight club. Many people have talked about this ice for a while but Austin just went ahead and did it. His work ethic is intense... he balances modeling and BMX like this grind. Actually he's always on the grind... he has no chill. If my memory serves me well, I think his 120lb dog Tonka Truck was ripping apart his couch the moment this photo was taken.
"We have the luxury of being an East Coast city, and as a reward, we get dark rugged winters, and sweltering hot summers. We pick our battles wisely."
- Joey Piazza
"Yo, I think it could work." and somehow it did. If Bob Scerbo saw how many times I put my bike on the rail to reassure myself I wouldn’t die, he would hate me even more. How does an innocent joke turn into this? The rollercoaster rail famine in NYC is real - they’re such a rare species these days. However, there's a decent amount of these overlooked fakecoasters hanging around. Every attempt, you kinda roll the dice but I figured it out the old school way; trial and error. I don’t know if this move has a name already, but I call it the ‘farside crook’.
Will Taubin set the bar in ’99 on the Brooks Brothers rail and it was knobbed right after. 21 years later and Oba Stanley goes right over the stoppers. For New Yorkers, the symbolism in this photo is epic... the spot, the history, 9/11, the OG holdin’ down the G.O.D of modern street riding. Oba has been crushing the city for years - uptown, downtown, he's all city. That bike was actually put together earlier in the week after a short hiatus. Security wasn’t too happy - shoutouts to Austin for showing them our "permit" to take photos, lol.
Everything about this setup is scary. Tall rail, big bank, and a massive 70 step staircase immediately after the landing. Instead of jumping into it straight, Matt decided to do a halfcab, like a true madman. The bars from the bike locked to the rail came so close to snagging his wheel during the rotation. So many dangerous factors involved with this graceful move. At one point he got hit with a nasty "going back to the spot for the photo" fall. A little blood, but he was all good though. Mr. Miller's Chocolate Truck 2 is already a classic and it didn’t even drop yet... His appearance in AM:PM 4 should hold you over until then.
"I spent seven years working on "Keep the Change" cause of the way life works; it is what it is."- Joey Piazza
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