Photo by Darnell Scott
For this week's Mahal, I spoke to New York–based skateboarder Eby Ghafarian about Stoops, the new skateboard magazine he's currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Unlike most skateboard magazines, Stoops will cater exclusively to New York and only publish photos shot in the five boroughs. Intrigued by the magazine's concept, I met with Eby in New York to discuss the history of the word stoops, the classic film Kids, and why New York needs a new skateboard magazine.
VICE: When and where was the first time you heard the word stoops?
Eby Ghafarian: The first time I heard the word stoops was probably around ten years ago. I used to skate on the first KCDC ramp with a bunch of OGs. I'm pretty sure Rodney Torres used to rock the word stoops pretty hard; most people have used it at some point. If you talk to some of the older skaters in the city, they will say they have used the term for close to 20 years.
They say stoops in the movie Kids, right?
Exactly! It's crazy to think about how that movie is 19 years old. So much has changed since then, but there are still so many parallels to the young Lower East Side kids of today.
What's your vision for Stoops magazine?
New York City skateboarding has never really gotten its proper shine—at least in real time. There have been some amazing retrospectives, but there is so much that happens in the city on a daily basis that gets slept on. We get the occasional exposure in Cali and international mags, but the most you will see in terms of coverage is online clips. I want people to pick up an issue of Stoops and get hyped about NYC skateboarding. New York has some of the most unique, yet grittiest, spots that come and go. We have to deal with pretty terrible ground and millions of people constantly in the way, but there is a spot on every corner if you apply a little ingenuity. Personally, New York is my favorite city to skate in, and I want others to see why.
Why are you using Kickstarter to fund the project?
There are two primary reasons we decided to go the Kickstarter route: We can start with good distribution numbers (if you dropped an amazing magazine and nobody was around, did it actually make a sound?), and since we do not need investors, the mag can remain independent with no pressures to conform or take on advertisers we do not back. The tough part is that Kickstarter is all or nothing, so there is a lot of pressure to hit our goal—how to convince 1,000 people to donate $20.