Category Archives: Skateventures

#BKLYN

Most people have been to New York at least once by now, and if they haven’t, they’re sure to have seen the same pictures and places posted over and over again…

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Obligatory Plane Photo

This was my third time, and my first time going on a trip with just one other person. It was a spontaneous idea for the two of us to immerse ourselves in pseudo hipsterdom for four days and hunt for gems in New York. Save for MoMa and the mandatory Halal Guys meal, we avoided as many common tourist spots as we could and spent a fair chunk of time in Brooklyn.

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*SQUINT* (KAVE, 119 Knickerbocker Ave. NY, 11237)

This is Amanda. I’ve known her for about 8 years now. She loves Targét, Trader Joes, cereal aisles and thinks American packaging design is extremely quaint. We essentially like the same things at varying intensities. We concluded that my subdued enthusiasm and her occasional manic excitement balanced each other out pretty well during this trip.

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That commitment to Instagram tho (54 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237)

We stayed at this AirBnB in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This place was a 4-bedroom unit in a renovated old four-story building. We chose our accommodations carefully (read as: we were sold purely on the aesthetic – air plants! wood things!). We spent the first hour here taking pictures (friends who Instagram together, stay together?).

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I adore rooftops (54 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237)

We were excited to find out we had rooftop access in our building. It was a wide flat space which must be perfect for parties in the summer. As you can see, it’s all trucks and factories in this neighbourhood. It was quiet at night with only a few hole-in-the-wall bars and a couple of health food stores open.

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I’m a skate ninja!

Although Bushwick was rather industrial, there were blasts of vividly coloured graffiti at every turn.

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We found my twin! (who clearly has stronger eyebrow game than me)

It was cold. Anyone who knows me at all knows I can’t handle the cold weather. Without exaggeration, I wore 6 top layers, 2 bottom layers, and 3 head layers most days. And although yes, my balaclava makes me look rather badass, its functional purpose was just as, if not more, important. I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost weight after this trip from all the walking and shivering.

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Roberta’s Pizza and Bakery (261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206)

Roberta’s is a famous pizza joint in Brooklyn. This is their take-out entrance. They have a separate entrance for their restaurant which was deceptively huge, dark, and full of hipsters. The pizza was on point.

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A Manhattan View from Downtown Brooklyn

We headed to downtown Brooklyn to explore and made it to the water (East River) It was freezing but Amanda insisted I sit and bust out a sketch so she could take photos of me. It was nice to relax by the water – if only it were a warm summer’s day.

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DUMBO (Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Underpass)

After recharging our phoneular devices and rehydrating at Starbucks, we had little time left to find this spot before the sun set. This is a famous spot for a shot of the Manhattan Bridge (sorry friends, I’m not that creative!). It was a gorgeous neighbourhood with more galleries that we didn’t get to see many of.

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Sandwiched between the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge

We continued to explore along the water as night fell. If you look carefully in the distance, farther along by the water was a lit up glass box of a building. It looked to me, from a distance, to be some kind of dinner party lit up with string lights…

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Jane’s Carousel

…but in fact, it was a carousel! out of nowhere! in a glass room! by the water! It cost $2 per ride and they mark your ticket with a hand-drawn heart! I died.

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Wheee!

We rode the carousel, duh.

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Practice makes perfect

The Manhattan Bridge lights made the scene all the more whimsical, imitating string lights hanging behind this magical glass carousel room.

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“SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE”

On the last day, we split up for a bit, planning to meet up back at home to catch our flight. I skated to Williamsburg which was less than half an hour away on board and was surprised to find there was lots of gorgeous graffiti on the way there.

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Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers (111 North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211)

In the morning, I quickly Yelped what was cool in Williamsburg and went into a state of frenzy when I found out that it was the home base of Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers. Have you ever gone to the Drake General Store or similar and seen the chocolate bars wrapped in beautifully patterned wrappers? They’re from here!

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I’m cry.

All the chocolate is made primarily in this one space. The Mast Brothers are two tall bearded men (shocking). The wrapping is all designed within the company (family/friends) and no, they wouldn’t sell me any paper :-(

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Very dark chocolate with a strong acquired taste.

They hand-sticker all their chocolate bars. They do it all by hand. My greatest regret is that we had to leave before the touring time.

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Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers Brewed Chocolate Bar (105A North 3rd St, Brooklyn)

A few blocks down behind a heavy metal door was their old space, which was now turned into a “Brewed Chocolate Bar” which, contrary to my belief, was not hot chocolate of any sort, but brewed cacao (pronounced “ka-cow”, apparently) beans, which made it taste like chocolate tea.

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The Brooklyn Art Library (The Sketchbook Project) (103A North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249)

Gem after gem, I continued a few more steps down the street and found a little shop called the Brooklyn Art Library. Curious, I went inside to find it was a reference library… of people’s sketchbooks from all over the world!

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Perusing sketchbooks

Anyone who wants to participate in “The Sketchbook Project” can purchase one of their sketchbooks, fill it up and send it back to have it toured around a few cities for awhile, and then forever stored at this location for anyone to peruse.

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“ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS WORTH DOING WRONG”

What a unique and lovely concept. I stayed here for awhile just browsing people’s sketchbooks, taking it all in, and using their wi-fi.

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I didn’t enjoy The Fifth Element. I enjoyed my Combos.

As quickly as we came, it was time to leave New York. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours, so we ate Combos and watched The Fifth Element for the first time.

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After a tiring and cold 4-day trip spending almost 3 of 4 full days together, we managed to stay friends. Hooray! Amanda suggested I make a video. I had no plans to make a video, but my photos were conveniently taken on a 1-second time-lapses, making it easy to put something together. You can watch it here.

December 12-15, 2014
Sony ActionCam HDR-AS100V

Boston Solo Trip

With one bag on my back and my skateboard in hand, I balled out in Boston (on a budget) for two days. It was a a really lovely city and I wish I had more time. I hardly travel, so for a first solo trip, I’m glad everything went dandy.

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I ran into a fellow longboarder before my 6:00 AM flight. His name was Johaan and he was some sort of travel writer originally from Florida. He was in Kitchener-Waterloo for awhile though and we have two mutual friends. It’s a small world after all.

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Plane sunrises

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Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at a Washington DC layover to christen my entry into the United States. I noticed the States serve their coffee extra scalding hot.

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Arrived in Boston with wonder in my eyes.

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I didn’t get to spend as much time by the water as I would have liked. I originally planned to spend time relaxing by the water but I spent too much time skate-sploring the city.

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Neptune’s Oyster (63 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113)

My first meal in Boston. This is what a $27 Lobster roll meal looks like. The total bill (incl. 3 oysters) was $45 and no, it wasn’t worth it. I met a traveller from Tokyo here. His name was Hide.

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There is so much cobblestone in Boston! It’s beautiful on the eyes, but annoying on the wheels. However, Boston has really decent bike lanes and wide sidewalks to make up for it. The people I met in Boston were so friendly that I forgot I wasn’t in Canada anymore.

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Friend Street Hostel (234 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114)

I stayed in a 10-person room at a hostel. It was surprisingly okay and super close to everything in the city. I only took brief showers and wore the same clothes for three days straight though. I was pretty gross.

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Orchard Skate Shop (156 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134)

Orchard Skate Shop was the only decent skate shop in/near Boston. They had a mini-ramp inside and I sort of wish I rolled around in it just for the sake of the experience, but the shop owner didn’t seem mega welcoming. I ran into another friendly longboarder outside their second location. He told me “I think that only real longboarders acknowledge other longboarders” Ain’t that the truth?

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The Museum of Fine Arts Boston (465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115)

The Museum of Fine Arts was free on Wednesday night and the hostel hosted a group outing so I decided to go and make some friends. I realized that I actually don’t enjoy fine art museums too much. I think I prefer more contemporary art. I can “appreciate” this kind of art but I can’t truly appreciate it, ya know? It’s just so hard to comprehend such intricate works of art were created by hand hundreds and thousands of years ago.

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All brick everything

There was a small street vendor festival being set up in this alleyway by Suffolk University. They lost a balloon. I didn’t see much graffiti in Boston. (Temple Street)

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Massachusetts State House?

This bright white state building was a huge contrast to all the red brick. I honestly didn’t care too much for the rich American History in Boston and didn’t end up seeing a lot of really “touristy” sights unless I came across it skating the city.

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Endless old school brick housing and lovely lamps and shops and cobblestone walkways in this narrow Beacon Hill neighbourhood. I wish I had more time to check out all the little shops in this area. This picture just doesn’t do it justice.

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Tired selfie. Harvard was oddly underwhelming  but maybe my expectations were too high. I think I liked Boston University and MIT better – but maybe it’s because I passed by those schools first. I went into the student commons in MIT and it was a strange feeling remembering that I’m already graduated. Suckers.

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They also had these really odd ugly metal coloured chairs all over their main Harvard Yard. WHY?

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YAK Dance Crew (http://www.yakdance.com/)

The street performers/dancers troupe performed both days I was in Boston. They must have been doing a similar routine for years but it was great!

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Crock pot of baked beans and corn bread. Durgin Park Restaurant (Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 4 South Market Street, Boston, MA 02109()

Boston is also known for their baked beans.  I feel like I didn’t come across too many people with Boston accents, but one of the chefs in the open kitchen here had a heavy Boston accent.

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This is Shaun. He was one of the guys that worked at the hostel. The only way to describe him is that he was super chill and super rad. I sure didn’t think I’d have a skate sesh while I was in Boston…

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Head in the clouds city skate sesh (with a selfie stick)

The thing that stood out to me the most in Boston were the pedestrians. I noticed a lot of the times pedestrians would cross the street whenever they felt like it even if there were cars oncoming – but the thing is, the cars would really slow down for them and wait for them to cross. The pedestrians didn’t even speed up! The cars didn’t even honk at them or seem to get mad! it was wild. It made me super confused as to when to cross the street because it also looked like the crossing light was perpetually the “do not walk” hand.

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Mid-day skate sesh with Shaun practicing getting off a curb properly. I wish I could city-shred better and pop ollies onto curbs. One day.

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Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum (306 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210)

I checked out the Boston Tea Party Museum (it was on a boat). I hardly went inside any buildings during my two days in Boston. The weather was perfect – sunshine all around and 20’s degree weather.

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A public bathroom that costs $0.25 to enter. This was part of the worst part about my Boston trip where I got “lost” in an extremely industrial part of town and wasted a lot of time skating through endless boringness. This bathroom’s door opens up like a spaceship. It was like a spaceship in there. I was a little freaked out.

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Obligatory Chinatown photo. I’m so glad I was able to put my Sony ActionCam to use during this trip.

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Atlantic Fish Co. (761 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116)

Of course I would finally have Boston’s New England Clam Chowder before I left. I loved Campbell’s Clam Chowder when I was a kid. This stuff was good. The total cost of this meal incl. a seafood platter was $42.

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South Street Diner (178 Kneeland Street, Boston, MA 02111)

6:00 AM 24-hour diner breakfast on my last morning in BostonIt was about a 10 minute skate through wonderfully empty (and dark) streets across the city to get here.

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You sure can cover a lot of ground when all you have is yourself and a skateboard. It’s hard to find people with the same mindset when travelling (I realized food is definitely one of my main priorities), but I think it also would have been nice to have someone to share my trip with. Maybe one day.

September 17-19, 2014
Photos: Sony ActionCam HDR-AS100V