Nike in NYC – The Swoosh Swishes Through New York
Originally published in our Apr/May 2012 issue.
Words/Photos: Jonathan Mehring
While filming their three-part video series, the Nike team spent some time in NYC and killed some local spots for your viewing pleasure. Much like New York City, the Nike Team is quite diverse; they have a little of everything going on. What might seem like random personalities and skate styles becomes a powerful mix of the best of everything. After everyone arrived (with the exception of Clark Hassler, Stefan Janoski and Gino Iannucci, who live in New York), we met at the Le Jolie Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Daniel Shimizu, Chet Childress, Youness Amrani and filmer extraordinaire Jason Hernandez, were staying across the street from Jerryside, the small park made by local skater Jerry Mraz under the elevated Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. This was the obvious warm-up spot and is also a bit sheltered from the rain and hot summer sun.
Gino is from Nassau and is quiet and reserved. He usually isn’t around, but when he is it’s no nonsense. He handles his tricks with speed, aggression, finesse and style. He doesn’t try to film a lot of tricks at every spot, and when he does they are only the best quality. He does his job with perfection. Then he’s gone. He is on his own schedule, which is part of his mysterious persona in the skate world.
Daniel shreds the guitar gnarly. If we had brought instruments on this trip, Daniel, Stefan and I would have started a folk-indie-metal-country fusion band. Daniel also shreds on the board with amazing style and a creative eye. It’s always nice to have skaters from California come to town, because they see the NYC spots with such different eyes. Daniel will always find a gem or two where ever he is.
Nick is a maniac from OZ. This was my first time meeting him, and he rips. He was motivated as hell and was also down to have a good time. He definitely has some gnarly tricks up his sleeve and isn’t afraid to let them loose when the time calls.
Chet loves camping. He could be staying in the nicest hotel or the shittiest one and have his tent set up on the bed like a little house (or jack shack, you decide). He was one of my first pro photo sessions. Chet used to live in Wilmington, NC, which is near where my family sometimes vacations. I somehow got his number one year and called him up. He was down to meet up, and we ended up shooting photos for a couple days every year during my family’s beach week. Chet is always on. He’s the center of attention most of the time and will have you laughing till the cows come home. For what he may lack in flat ground and ledge skills, he always makes up for in personality.
Clark lives in another universe, an amazing one. At Max Fish, a girl once asked him where he was from, and he just pointed out the window and said, “Lllll.Aaaaaaa.” He seems a little spacey at first, but once you get to know him you realize that there is a lot going on inside his head. He is amazing on the board and one of the most creative thinkers I know. He looks at the world very differently than most: he will find the craziest spots that you never realized were right in front of you.
Youness is from Belgium and speaks about seven different languages, and his voice seems abnormally deep for his size. Being from Europe and riding for US companies, he is always on the road and doesn’t seem to mind. The youngest on this trip, he was down to get gnarly. He will land tricks in only a few tries—tricks you never thought of, much less thought were possible.
Stefan is a good bro of mine. He lives down the street in Brooklyn, and we vibe on many levels from making art to making music to skating. He is multi-talented and utilizes his time between each of these areas. He might have an entire album recorded that he won’t let anyone hear. Going to Stefan’s house is like going into a house you imagined as a kid: it’s a loft apartment and there is everything you could want and space to spare. Pick up any instrument from a bassoon to a lap-steel and every type of guitar and banjo in between. You can paint, make sculptures, play piano, shoot photos, have a glass of wine, barbeque on the roof, be loud, lay on the floor, play with the cat, whatever is good. It’s a fun place. He is a good person to have in the van as well. With impeccably original style and technical mastery, he is definitely an important member of Nike’s cast of characters.