December 27, 2015
Dave from Supreme was sitting in a flatbed truck, a whole lot of ramp sections strapped to it. After being offered a gig to help organize a party for a new day club I’d decided that the most relevant and timely way out of my predicament was to throw a good old fashioned house party. Back in LA we used to put a bunch on and did pretty well. Admittedly I was less involved in the organization and more involved in the partying but I’d been at enough events to know the run of things. After throwing some thoughts down in a Google doc, I asked around venues but they all wanted a huge share of the door, I’d basically just be connecting the lineup with the location, it would end up as just another night and I’d hardly make anything. People wanted a unique experience and I had had the perfect location right here. Loft parties were epic but it was pretty rare you saw great acts play them. Ben was away for another few weeks, noise wasn’t much of an issue and it was pretty hard to do any major damage.
I figured if I could get the right music everyone would pay a door charge, plus we could make a little extra by setting a bar. Brands were always looking for this type of Brooklyn exposure – I pitched a video and sponsorship deal to a bunch of labels, Supreme said they would come on board if they could setup a mini-ramp in the middle of the loft and livestream the whole thing – hence Dave, his truck and a ramp that in no way looked ‘mini’.
I invited Dave up and gave him the rundown as we went up the stairs. He hadn’t followed me inside the loft so I walked back out into corridor.
“This the only entrance?” he asked.
I watched his face drop.
I had sent him photos of the place and he couldn’t wait to skate this ramp while the party was going on, he had pulled together this great bunch of skaters to come jam on it. Dudes that would rip, guys with massive followings. I remembered now that there were measurements on one of his emails but it had slipped my mind to check, we had a huge space inside but a pretty normal doorway and corridor. He started to look really gutted and a kind of lazy scowl covered his forehead. Around us they were setting up the bar and the projector. We were showing three short films, and a couple of bands were lined up before the DJ’s, they were already sound-checked and their gear sat at one end of the room. The strategy was to spread the net, jamming multiple audiences together to get things started as early as possible, to maximize the door takings.
“I’d say we just open up the doorway,” Dave said, “Replace it afterwards. But we won’t even be able to get the ramp up the stairs. We won’t get any decent ramps up the stairs.”
To try and cheer him up, I took him out on to the roof, you had to climb out through a pretty small window. It didn’t help that the window was in Ben’s room. We had taken a photo and moved all his personal and valuable stuff. We had put a little step ladder by the desk to make it easier for the hundreds of people that would make the climb throughout the night. We had come up with a concept of mounting blank skate decks four high and fifteen wide then getting a local graffiti artists to do one big piece across the whole lot. The original idea was to put it in the loft but we figured the fumes would be a bit too much in a place that was going to get crazy hot anyway. We decided to set it up on the roof under a couple of big lights from a friend’s studio. We used a scaffolding frame and cable ties through the holes in the decks to mount them. The decks were interlocked so there were almost no gaps. Dave had approved the idea and looked happy with the blank canvas of skate decks. He took a shot of it with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop but that look hadn’t left his face.
Dave started walking in sloppy circles looking around the roof. I made a note to get Matt, who was in charge of shooting most of the video to grab a time-lapse of the sunset. Classic but effective. The calm before the storm.
“This could work.” Dave said calmly, nodding his head. “I know a guy.”
“Yeah man, we have had some good sessions up here.”
“Nah, the ramp.” He said. “It ain’t that heavy. But to be safe we’ll put it right here. That’s the wall that runs down the hallway right?”
“We use this crane company to setup ramps for a bunch of events. The guy lives in Jersey. I’ve given him a bunch of business. He’ll sort us out.”
“You want to crane the fucken ramp up here?”
“Yeah man. It’ll be sick! Imagine the shots!”
“Dude. This building.. I don’t… What?!”
“Trust me. The ramp isn’t that heavy. This place is a rock, you can see the steel frame from the inside. This will be epic man. We can do this. Leave it to me.”
“You really think it will be ok? A crane will get a bit of attention. What if the roof doesn’t hold?”
“Your neighbors are a bunch of factories and hipsters. They ain’t gonna give a shit.”
“Fuck man. Fuck. Really?”
Dave didn’t reply, he was straight on his phone, detailing the situation. I reluctantly gave him our address. I couldn’t argue that it was going to be epic with a ramp up here but I could see the terrifying images of a skate ramp falling through the roof onto a packed dance floor. But how much could a wooden ramp really weigh? That feeling of lightness in your stomach, when something is suddenly beyond your control. Fuck it. The footage and photos would look amazing – we were going to need more lights up here.