On Thursday night, Manhattan's Santos Party House is serving as host to the world premiere of "Join, or Die," the latest video from New York's own 5boro Skateboards. 5boro founder and owner Steve Rodriguez has come a long way since setting up shop in the mid-1990s in a Greenwich Village basement. It wasn't long before he grew the team and the brand and opened his office in nearby NoHo, along the way pulling in top skaters from the Big Apple and beyond. Many of those riders will be featured in "Join, or Die," the first full-length video from 5boro since 2005. Heading into the highly anticipated premiere, ESPN Action Sports caught up with Rodriguez via e-mail.
ESPN.com: This is a big month for 5boro. What's on deck?
Rodriguez: Aside from the new video, we have three new pros. Willy Akers, Joe Tookmanian and [Brazil's] Rafael Gomes. It was time, and they all paid their dues. We have also just finished a collaboration with Carhartt WIP [Work In Progress].
Give some background on the movie.
"Join, or Die" was shot over the past five years by Tombo Colabraro. It features full parts from Dan Pensyl, Danny Falla, Joe Tookmanian, Guillaume Dulout, Willy Akers, Jimmy McDonald and the ill-est Flow Trash crew. This video has the same authentic, raw East Coast 5boro feel [as our other videos] but features a generation switch in the 5boro family. The Flow Trash are now pro while the younger kids are coming up. As you will see in the video, the crew runs deep, expanding outside the boroughs, from Lil Wayne to a Flow Trash army across the globe.
Any updates on the Brooklyn Banks?
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge is supposed to be finished in 2014, so two more years to go. Once the LES park is done I can start working on a plan for how to give the Banks a facelift.
What's the status on the Coleman Oval/LES Skatepark revamp?
A newly redesigned and reconstructed Coleman Oval Skatepark, located under the Manhattan Bridge, is coming [this] spring [or] summer. This project was made possible by a Gamechangers grant awarded to me. The Gamechangers Sports Micro-Venture Fund, a partnership between Architecture for Humanity and Nike, is a revolving grants program that funds the design and construction of innovative, sustainable, and safe places to play and gather. The skatepark is designed by myself, with design-collaborator and builder California Skateparks.
Seems like things are good. Has this so-called Great Recession affected you financially or creatively as a skateboarder and business owner?
Financially, of course. People with less money to spend means less sales. But creatively, not really. I think it actually fuels creativity.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just want to thank everyone who supports 5boro. You are the ones who make it happen.