Support Your 'Stoops': Crowdfunding NYC's Only Skateboard Magazine
Somehow New York doesn’t have it’s own skateboard magazine, and the only reason I can think of is that everyone just assumes that there already is one, or 10. But there aren’t 10 or even one—but thanks to Eby Ghafarian there might be one soon. The NYC skateboarder and 43 Magazine contributor is hitting up Kickstarter to launch Stoops, a skate magazine dedicated to covering the NYC skate scene without the portraits and other filler that gets in the way of watching some of the country’s most talented riders turn the city into their personal playground.
Milk Made: Why do you think New York needs its own skate magazine?
Eby Ghafarian: New York City is the most interesting and versatile city in the world. Borough to borough, neighborhood to neighborhood, the city changes drastically, and nobody knows this more than skateboarders. We are the modern-day explorers. We know every back alley and side street, yet what do people see 90% of the time that the city appears in Cali and international skate publications? The same 5 spots. We need our own magazine to show the rest of the world the innovation that is happening here. Some of the most creative skateboarding happens in NYC, yet it goes undocumented.
MM: Why doesn’t NYC doesn’t have its own skate magazine already?
EG: I am not sure why there hasn’t been an NYC magazine up to this point, but it is long overdue. Stoops will give the world a real look into NYC through amazing photography and an insider’s perspective of what really goes on.
MM: What makes NYC a special place to skateboard?
EG: The primary thing that makes NYC a special place to skate is the spots. There are spots on every corner if you get a little creative. They come and go constantly, but there is no shortage of them. Sometimes it can get annoying when you see a spot that looks amazing until you get close and realize there is something that makes it impossible. We have tons of those, but for every one of those spots, there are at least a couple others that are manageable. A lot of the difficulty in skating some of the spots (the cracks, the uphill run-ups, the people in the way, the bust factors, etc.) may not translate in photos, so people that have skated NYC will appreciate them more than those who have yet to do so. But those who haven’t will see the interesting spots and be pulled in, regardless.
Another special thing about skating NYC is being part of a living organism. You are not simply skating in isolation. You are part of a system that is always moving, always changing. So to step back and see what we, as skateboarders, are doing (charging obstacles among the bustle of the city) is empowering. More so than any other city, skating here makes you a part of the soul of NYC. We give life and color to the otherwise repetitive, work-to-live New York mindset.
MM: What have you learned from 43 Magazine that you’ll be putting into Stoops?
EG: The thing that 43 Magazine has taught me is that there is great content being produced out there, it is a matter of uncovering it. It has also shown the importance of allotting enough time to curating. Most magazines have to churn out content every month, when only so many worthwhile photos are produced per month. This leads to a heavy up on filler content, which leaves much to be desired. Allen Ying is a great photo editor, so I am stoked to have him on board with Stoops. 43 is his main project and he has been working hard on the new issue (Issue 004) of 43, which should be coming out soon. And while Stoops will be my main project, when I originally told him about my idea for an NYC magazine years ago, he told me he wanted to get involved with it. As a photographer out of NYC, he understands more than most the need for a publication like Stoops.
There are also the fundamental needs and challenges of producing a magazine these days that I have learned from helping out with 43. The main thing is the perception that people don’t buy magazines. When Allen first started calling shops he would get the same response from most about skaters not buy mags anymore. Yet for each issue, 43 has managed to sell out in most shops. The reason that most skate publications don’t sell is because they are thrown together very quickly without the quality controls that ensure higher impact. Once people can see the value in a product, they are willing to pay for it. That is the most important thing I have learned: Show your value. Stoops has so much to offer and people will see that. There is a reason the world is fascinated with NYC after all.
MM: One of Stoops‘ goals is to inspire skateboarders. What inspired you to start skating?
EG: A friend of mine suggested that I start skating when I was looking for a new hobby, so I asked for a legit skateboard for Christmas and started trying to figure things out. It wasn’t until another friend let me borrow the first two Consolidated videos that I really got hooked. This was around the same time that videos like The Storm, Full A Dream, and Jump Off A Building were coming out and while those were all memorable, I think had I seen them first I may have felt discouraged. While I did see them shortly after, it was those first Consolidated videos that showed real street skating, pushing and relatable tricks. They were skating non-spots and having a blast. I realized that I could skate anything. There was so much more potential. I still get inspired to this day by the same sort of stuff. I do love the big flashy skating too, out of appreciation for the difficulty and novelty of it all, but it is the lower impact, creative skating that gets me psyched to skate on a regular basis.
MM: Who are some of the people that you’re looking forward to featuring in Stoops and why do you want to feature them? What spots do you want to show off?
EG: There are so many people that I want to feature in Stoops eventually. The guys that are really killing it right now are Leo Gutman, Tyshawn Jones, Cyrus Bennett, Zared Bassett, Joey Pepper, Max Palmer, Daniel Kim, Brian Clarke, Dave Caddo, Aaron Herrington, Brian Delatorre, and Jordan Trahan. I would also love to do stuff with the mysterious guys that are basically myths at this point. The Bobby Puleos and the Anthony Pappalardos. I also want to feature some of the local characters that are around the scene and everyone knows. Even the guys that may not be hooked up and known outside of the city (or even their neighborhoods). I also want to highlight spots that people may not associate with NYC. Throughout the five boroughs, there is such an interesting mix of spots and I want to show that. From doing a feature on Staten Island to giving Queens coverage, we will show some of the real New York that you won’t find in most current coverage.
MM: What else should people know about Stoops?
EG: Due to the content of Stoops being exclusive to NYC skateboarding, I want to make it clear that the magazine will not simply be a local zine. We will distribute the magazine nationally and internationally. We are going to be covering local skaters as well as visiting skaters, because those that visit play an important part in NYC skating too. We will not be wasting valuable print pages on portraits. These guys are not models, they are skateboarders, so the photos will show that. We will hardly (if ever) run sequences, and we will never run filler photos. Every photo that makes it into Stoops needs to be worthy of hanging on your wall. This is mostly why the magazine will be quarterly. We want to ensure quality control. We also plan to do so much more outside of the magazine itself. We will be putting out some amazing Stoops gear that I am pretty excited about. We will be creating video content and throwing some fun events too!