The New Jersey Connection
Home grown in the Garden State
Photography Chris Marshall / Introduction Ralph Sinisi
Ralph Sinisi- 39, Clifton NJ
New Jersey is the center of the world for street riding as far as I’m concerned. There is no place I would rather be...
Every city is great and there is always something to ride wherever you go. Industrial, downtowns, … Shit, even the residential bits have great stuff. There are tons of riders and their crews all over Jersey, exploring spots all day and night while others sleep. In the northern part of the state almost everything is paved. Riding possibilities are endless and infinite. The close proximity to NYC and its boroughs adds to the ground that Jersey riders must cover. Philly is also just a quick drive away and is another riding metropolis, as are its adjoining towns.
In the bigger cities, there are no rules wherever you go. Everything can be ridden. New construction meets with old school architecture and there’s barely any grass left anywhere. Behind every building and on top of every parking garage are new views and sites of what could be a bank, ledge, rail or whatever you can imagine.
All these amazing obstacles and endless riding environments have fostered some of the most skilled and highly diversified riders in the world. The progression of how the spots are used, the tricks that happen on them, and the spots themselves continue to expand. Every day many new things are being ridden. While some things have unfortunately gotten destroyed, so much new construction assures you are never at a loss for where to ride. Certain great spots have survived time and somehow don’t age as everyone around them does. Some have seen better days, while others are just waiting for some new concrete to make nothing into something.
For decades Jersey riders have ridden these great spots. Many have kept on their bikes while others have not, or suffered worse fates in life, and they should still be here riding with us today. So many places around every city hold a history of great riding sessions. Here is a look into some of the best guys holding down the streets of Jersey every day. - RS
Anthony DeRosa - 19, Toms River, NJ
I love riding the East Coast because it gives off that raw feel. Whether you are going to ride Philly, New York City, or some North Jersey spots for the day, you're bound to have a blast wherever you go. Out of all the places to ride in the East Coast, NYC is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love Philly and 90 percent of my last edit was filmed there, but for me there is nothing more fun than riding around NYC with a bunch of your homies. When you are in the city you get to race through traffic, hop over cab hoods, and piss people off because you have eight bikes crammed into a crowded subway car. I love riding around NYC because I get to see more of the city in a day than most people will ever get to in a lifetime.” - AD
Chris Dolan (Special) - 19, Cranford, NJ
“I think New Jersey has a really good riding scene, because everybody has their own crew they ride with, but also because everyone throughout New Jersey knows each other and rides together. NJ has a lot of crews, for instance LFS, SAF, and the South Jersey crew. There are also a lot of crews surrounding NJ, such as the Chocolate Truck and Stink Pit guys. I think it's sick that all the crews ride together at times and all like what the other crews are doing and putting out. It’s also sick that NJ has its own East Coast style of riding and doesn't follow the trends as much.” - CD
Nick Verdoni - 17, Howell, NJ
“I was born and raised in Howell, New Jersey. I have been riding BMX for around six years and I found that New Jersey has given me so many opportunities to grow as a rider. I have met some great people and have made lifelong friends here. BMX is not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
The BMX scene in New Jersey is something awesome. The East Coast vibes and the family-like atmosphere amongst the riders make BMX here even better. A typical day in New Jersey starts out with me and a couple of my friends getting together to go ride, film a little, and have some fun. We have some choices, from being able to ride the coastline of the Jersey Shore to other local spots just a short ride away. Another BMX benefit to being located in central Jersey is that within an hour we can be in Philadelphia or on the streets of New York, but New Jersey is home to me and it’s an amazing place to ride. There is no place I would rather be.” - NV
Nick Bardzilowski - 26, Piscataway, NJ
“New Jersey is a crazy place, which is fitting for the people from here. People are generally rude, outspoken, always in a rush, and they’re extremely dangerous drivers. In the case of New Jersey, crazy definitely attracts crazy. No matter where else in the country you are, it's almost impossible not to run into a fellow Jerseyite; it's like we sniff each other out. At the end of the day we all have one thing in common, and that is being from the best state in America (laughs).
In all seriousness though, Jersey is a great place. The climate and setting are so diverse that you can spend your morning on one of the best beaches in the country and then drive a few hours to start your night in New York City. You can snowboard during winter and surf during summer. On the other hand we also have some of the most dilapidated and poor cities I’ve ever been to – the perfect recipe for street riding.
As far as riding BMX goes, it was awesome to grow up in a place which some of the most innovative street riding at the time was originating from. I always looked up to the whole Animal team and all the videos; it was cool to run into spots in random towns that you’d seen your favorite riders getting clips on. That's something I still get siked on. With all that said, I will always be proud to call "Dirty Jersey" home.” -NB
Sean Ricany - 19, Toms River, NJ
“I basically grew up riding the incline club skate park in Lakewood, NJ. I started riding there when I was 5 years old and Scotty Cranmer helped me out a bunch while I was growing up and riding the park every day. That place definitely helped me become the person I am today.
It’s kinda tough being super young and not having a license, living in a town like Toms River where spots are really spread out and the nearest cities are an hour away. Once I became old enough to start going out riding with older friends, I started riding NYC and Philly a bunch.
The scene around my area has its ups and downs. A lot of the people I was always riding with growing up quit, or got into some other shit and barely ride, and my homies that do still ride usually don't do it much ‘cause they work all the time.” - SR
I kind of like how most of the spots out here are imperfect, such as bad runways and spots that only require one trick to be done.
Mikey Almodovar (SmallFry) - 19, Woodbridge, NJ
“I've been on a few road trips up and down the East Coast, Midwest, and the West Coast a couple of times. All these places are awesome to visit, but I have to say, Jersey is still my favorite place to be. You never know what's going to happen when you're out cruising around. You can end up in the middle of nowhere with nothing but farms surrounding you, or you can get yourself lost in the streets of an unfriendly neighborhood. You might find some rails with shitty runways, or come across a rusty angle iron ledge. That's what I love about New Jersey, your street session is different every day no matter where you are. And as weird as it sounds, I kind of like how most of the spots out here are imperfect, such as bad runways and spots that only require one trick to be done. It makes your riding more diverse and opens up a lot of doors for different ways of riding. I like watching riders really put a crazy spot to good use, even if it's just a storm door or a pole jam, it's sick.” - MA
Colin Varanyak - 23, Hamilton, NJ
“The BMX scene in New Jersey was pretty big all throughout my childhood. I grew up racing but there were a few different trail spots in the area. When I quit racing I started riding with some of the locals in my town. We would mostly ride around my town, downtown Trenton and Princeton. There was also the local legend, Jersey Joe, who had an awesome backyard setup. The first two years of high school were awesome because there was always someone to ride with, but most of the kids I rode with were a bit older, so a lot of them stopped riding by the time I was a junior. I think there was a good year during which I had nobody to ride with. Everyone in the immediate area stopped riding.I met Brian Carter at the Incline Club in Lakewood, New Jersey, and he invited me to come out street riding with a few of his friends (the Deadline crew), and after I met and rode with all of them it became an everyday thing. They all lived about 40 minutes from my house but it didn't matter, because they were the only friends I had that enjoyed riding as much as I did. Garrett had the sickest backyard setup and he also had an awesome pool, so we would all link up there and then go ride wherever. Good times!” - CV
"After watching Criminal Mischief video I realized the TV stuff was a very poor portrayal of what riding really is."
Garrett Reynolds - 24, Toms River, NJ
“Growing up on the East Coast was awesome. Luckily, being from Toms River, there was a pretty big scene where I lived. Early on I was influenced by all the stuff coming out of the East Coast. The first video that really made me realize how sick riding is was Criminal Mischief. I remember seeing that video and at the time couldn't comprehend what was going on; the riding was just fucked. Watching it opened my eyes to all the different styles and ways that you could ride a bike, because before that all I saw was televised stuff. After watching that video I realized the TV stuff was a very poor portrayal of what riding really is.
Living in Southern California is a bit different. You can’t really get away with riding stuff during the week unless you go out at night, which is usually hard to get anyone to do. When I lived in Jersey I would ride stuff any day and rarely get hassled, but out here I rarely waste my time trying to ride street during the weekdays. Even at schoolyard spots on a Saturday, sometimes janitors will be there to give you the boot. That basically leaves it to Sunday. I’m not saying it’s impossible to ride street during the weekdays; it’s more a matter of respect and the knowledge that that’s just how it is. It’s not unlikely that spots get capped or even taken out. Luckily action sports in general have a big presence in California, so there are a million and one parks to ride, which is awesome. The scene out here is definitely different. I don't really try to involve myself with it. I just do my own thing with my friends. I can say I’m thankful for having lived on both sides, because both have taught me a lot of things and are each amazing for different reasons.” - GR
Stephan Salley - 20, Seaside Heights, NJ
“I was born and grew up in South Jersey so I’ve been living on the East Coast for most of my life. The best part about living on the East Coast is being able to shred with my main homies Nick Verdoni, Anthony DeRosa and Nick Jones. It’s always a great time with them because we all enjoy riding our bikes and we’re always out looking for new spots. We all definitely try to travel out of our area though; many spots around us have already been murdered by a lot of great riders. Usually when we are all off work or have a free day to ride, we head up north and try to find some good shit to get down on.” -SS
How a few choice words from a High school teacher in Muncie, Indiana, lead to him picking up a bike and traveling the world