Kingpin Magazine: 5boro in Paris

I spent 10 days in Paris skating with the 5boro crew in In April of 2014. I wrote the following article and conducted interviews with everyone on the trip for issue 127 of Kingpin— A Pan-European skateboard magazine.

Photography: Alex Pires

Scroll down for text. Fully scanned article coming soon.

Bruno's revenge:

5boro in Paris.

It’s no secret that New York City is an attractive place for broke, traveling skateboarders. The promise of crusty spots, good food, and a decadent nightlife are all quite a draw. However, because of the closet sized apartments and outrageously priced hotels, a friend’s floor is usually the only available accommodation. As a result, floor space in NYC is a hot commodity any time of the year. We at 5boro have been hosting sightseeing skateboarders on our linoleum, tile, and carpeted surfaces for as long as I can remember. We’ve housed people from Jersey all the way to Japan, but some of our most frequent guests have hailed from the fine nation of France. So this past April we rounded up our crew consisting of Sylvester Eduardo, Jordan Trahan, Rob Gonyon, Joe Tookmanian, Tombo Colabraro, myself, and special guests Andy Bautista and Darren Baskinger and headed to Paris to claim some well-deserved floor space of our own.

Like New York, Paris has a magnetic appeal for skateboarders, and everyone else in the world. Consequently, finding a cheap, direct flight between the two places is no easy task, especially during the warmer months. Half of our crew ended up on flights with hefty layovers in Moscow, but in the end everyone made it to France in one piece. It was the younger guys’ first time in Paris and it had been ages since the rest of us had visited, so spirits were high going into the trip. We were also escaping the tail end of one of the worst winters I’ve experienced in NYC, so Parisian spring weather was exactly what we needed.

Upon our arrival we met up with Luidgi Gaydu, Bram de Cleen, Ben Chadourne and The Blobys, who took on the heroic task of hosting us for the entire trip. For those who don’t know, the Blobys are a Parisian skate crew who roll thick as thieves through the city every day. They’re not your average group of skate rats. They’ve got their own spots, their own tricks you’ve never heard of, and even their own language. Apparently the word “Bloby” means, “pillow-fight” in their made up dialect. They showed us every inch that they could of their fair city, and gave us the honor of gracing their beautiful floors each night.

If this transcontinental journey has taught us anything, it’s that Paris and New York aren’t so different. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a croissant or a bagel, if you’re at The Louvre or The Met, or if you’re skating Le Dome or some crappy cellar door. At the end of the day, pushing down Broadway and cruising through Avenue des Champs Elysees will lead you to the exact same place on a skate holiday: a cozy night’s sleep on the floor next to a bunch of sweaty men. All things considered though, that’s not such a bad place to be. Thanks to Luidgi Gaydu, The Blobys, Alex Pires AKA Bruno, and everyone at Nozbone for making this trip possible.

 

INTERVIEWS WITH THE CREW

 

Sylvester Eduardo:

This was your first trip to Paris. Was the city any different than you expected it would be?

Paris is "Petruki" (a word meaning “chill” in Bloby-speak). I wasn't sure what to expect but by the end I didn't want to leave. The Eiffel tower makes The Empire State Building look like a bag of peanuts.

What’s the biggest difference between Paris and your hometown of Fort Lee, NJ?

Hahaha. A few tons of marble and the Blobys A.K.A The Parisian hot crew.

We rolled pretty deep on this trip. What was it like skating around Paris with a crew of 20+ people?

Skating with a lot of people was one of the best parts. There was no pressure and everyone was killing it. Pure fun.

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

The best thing would be to house them all. I’ve got a big ass couch. My mom would gladly hook it up with Dominican food daily. MONTREO!

 

Ben Chadourne:

Who was the most stereotypical American on the trip?

There was no really stereotypical American in the crew, but if I had to choose one I would say ROB! He is the real white gangster. The way he talks, the way he walks, and the way he is always rapping and freestylin’. This was the first time I met him. He’s the man, so funny to hang out with.

Does it get annoying skating around Paris with a huge crew of non-French speaking Americans?

Not at all. It depends on who you’re with. The 5boro crew fits in perfectly here. I’ve known them for a long time and hanging out with them allowed me to practice my English. They aren’t lazy, but I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to speak French. At least they came back overseas with a couple of French expressions!

How does life in your hometown of Bordeaux compare to life in Paris?

Bordeaux is another rhythm. Everything is smoother and cleaner. People are less stressed, less angry, and it doesn’t take hours to do things. In Paris you have to wait your turn for everything you do, get in the queue… Bordeaux is like a small Paris. Its architecture and history are amazing. I love this city. You should visit!

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

Many Blobys have stayed with me, but if I had to choose I would say Roman. He’s thin, he doesn’t snore and he has beautiful womanly hair. What else could you ask for?!

 

Bram De Cleen:

The last 5boro trip you went on was from NYC to Detroit in 2011. How did that trip compare to this one?

2011 was my first time in the states and was a three-week trip so I really felt like I was traveling. This time around I just took a two-hour train ride to Paris and stayed for only four days. So it felt more like going over to pay Tura and Luidgi a visit while you guys were around.

How does life in your hometown of Antwerp compare to life in Paris?

There's a lot more of everything in Paris—more people, more spots, more noise—it's a metropolis. Life in Antwerp is really peaceful and slow compared to Paris. I like going to Paris but I always like leaving as well. I'm originally from Mechelen, Belgium, which is probably as big as a Parisian neighborhood.

Who was the most stereotypical American on the trip?

Probably Took or Darren. Best accents.

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

Is Luidgi an official Bloby? They're all welcome but not all together.

 

Jordan Trahan:

This was your first trip to Paris. Was the city any different than you expected it would be?

Well when I was younger, I always saw footage of famous spots like Le Dome, or Bercy. That was before I even knew they were in Paris, so it was a trip to be staying just a few blocks from Trocadero.

Who was the most stereotypical French person in the crew?

Maybe Karl. His balcony has the most stereotypical, epic view of the Eiffel Tower I've ever seen

If you could bring one thing home from Paris; the skate spots, pastries, wine or anything in between, what would it be?

The sidewalks. The asphalt they use reminds me of a smooth basketball court. The flat ground sessions in front of Nozbone can go on for hours there.

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

Certainly Vincent, to repay him for his hospitality during our entire trip. But maybe we'll set up a trip to Louisiana, where all the boys will have room to crash.

 

Rafael Gomes:

You’ve been to Europe a handful of times, but this was your first time in Paris. How did it compare with the other places you’ve visited on the continent?

Yeah last time I went to Europe was a few years ago and I had forgot how good it was to skate. Every country there has its own thing, but Paris was one of the most beautiful cities I have been to. The architecture is really nice with a lot of detail, people eat a lot of baguettes, the sidewalks are smooth, and I feel that people there are cool with skateboarding and don't really kick you out of the spots often.

What was it like being the only Brazilian in a giant crew of American and French guys?

It was a good time skating the city, hanging out with the crew, laughing at all their jokes, and learning some French words.

You had a knack for finding free WiFi at every skate spot we went to. What’s the best WiFi spot in Paris?

That was the way to check what was going on back home and talk to the family. The McDonald's WiFi saved me when I first got there and couldn't find a pay phone to call Luidgi. But after a few days, Ben Chadourne hooked us up with a WiFi password that worked all over the city.

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

Anyone who would be able to wake up early with my kids. I would say Santiago though, because he speaks Portuguese and would probably feel the most comfortable.

 

Jimmy McDonald:  (Interview by Tombo Colabraro)

Tell me about skating Paris with the Blobys.

Rolling with the Blobys is awesome. They’ve got a great crew and they’re down to skate all the time. It’s always good vibes hanging out with them.

How do people in Paris stay so skinny when they have all these delicious pastries and baguettes at their disposal 24/7? If I lived there I probably wouldn’t be able to see my shoes after a couple weeks.

It must be that they eat much smaller portions than we do in the states. You and I would be eating 12 croissants a day if we lived out there, but the French seem to enjoy their indulgent meals slowly and in moderation.

After years of experience working at NYC's local dive bar/coke den what advice would you give to Roman, who just got a job at a similar establishment in Paris?

I would tell him to get the fuck out of there! Just kidding (sort of). It seems like he’s having fun and he gets to serve beers to his fellow Blobys every night, so I’d say let the good times roll.

1664 or Coors OG Banquet Beer?

1664 all day.

If you had to let one of the Blobys stay on your floor for a month, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Gregoire Cuadrado. He put us up in his apartment, cooked us meals, gave us coffee, and made sure we had a hell of a time in his amazing city.