This cityscape book is like my photo diary, from the summer to the end of the year 2001, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.
I moved to the apartment on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg in 2001. I really enjoyed the big sky and very positive energy of this neighbor, and used to ride the bike around with my camera. I soon found the abandoned lot near by the East River where many locals just walked in from broken steel fence to enjoy the sunset with the great view of Manhattan. It used to be the old ship landing port, and had wide concrete lot. Some skaters built the skating ramps with a lot of junks. They even made a concrete mountain called “volcano”. It was really fun to watch many skaters trying tricks and challenging the volcano until dusk. Not only skaters, many local neighbors came in there just hanging out, reading books, singing, walking with dogs, or even BBQ…, every body had really relaxed great time by the river. It was some kind of heaven with a lot of positive vibe in the entire air. The skaters even proposed to the city to make this space to a real public skate park, even though it was easily ignored… But it was definitely one awesome summer until the day of September 11th.
9.11 changed everything, not only New York but also the whole world. It was beautiful blue sky day, and the moment watching the twin towers falling down slowly without any sound from the roof of my Brooklyn apartment was so surreal and exactly looked like a movie. Since that day, every sunset was almost artificially vivid orange, perhaps because of the dust of huge collapse. All New Yorkers had really long sad and tough time, lost a lot of lot of things. The hand made skate park was also bulldozed in one night, and that lot was completely closed with constant patrol of NYPD.
As New York gradually tried to go back to the normal life, 3 skater friends started preparing the new skate shop with indoor skate ramp near the closed lot. It used to be the old toy factory and they built everything hand made as well as their lost skate park. Many skaters, artists and local kids helped them with the excitement to be able to have a new skate place. The store’s name was KCDC, and when they had a opening night at the end of 2001, the store was totally packed, and every skaters lined up on the new ramp waiting to jump into one after another all night. Since then KCDC has been hosting many art events as well with the support of local artists, and they had moved to one block away a few years later, but it is still there and respected as a real hard-core skate shop with big heart and cool ramp.
The neighbor in Williamsburg has been changing dramatically with new luxury condominiums and fancy restaurants in these years and many artists were kicked out there. But even with a lot of change, still we can always hear the sound like locusts when skaters cruise around from street to street.
Born in Okayama, Japan and based in New York City since 1993. Currently maintains a Manhattan studio and resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Developed his most important photographic technique, communication, through background as a theatrical director in Tokyo. The goal of this rapport is the vivid sense of life conveyed through the images. While working in the editorial and commercial fields, GION has also collaborated with The Barnstormers art collective and other artists on behalf of his own projects
THE BARNS by THE BARNSTORMERS Published December 01, 2008