Makin’ Night Moves
Photos by Jeff Zielinski and Tristan Afre (where noted)
Text by Jeff Zielinski
I‘m getting close to the point of my life where I’ve lived half of my years in Southern California, but I’m originally from the East Coast. I was born and raised in New Jersey–where I spent my formative years riding. Growing up just outside New York City, during the summer when the days were super hot and humid, we’d wait until the evening to head into the city to ride the slightly less crowded streets in the cool of the night. We would literally ride all night and see the first rays of sunrise as we came through the Lincoln Tunnel back into Jersey. By the time I would finally get to sleep I would hear the waking birds chirping. Those days/nights were awesome and some of my best memories of riding. On the flipside, I can also vividly recall plenty of times riding in the city when it was brick-ass freezing cold, too. I remember being absolutely miserable when the cold wind would blow through between the buildings. It was like a wind tunnel of bone-chilling torture. I’ll romanticize the heat of the summer all day, but fuck being cold! The temperate climate I now call home has spoiled me with average winter temps hovering around 70 degrees. Meanwhile, I’m hearing news of bomb cyclones and arctic weather back east. What the fuck is a bomb cyclone? I’m so glad I never had to experience one of those while I was growing up! To all my friends and family back east, I feel your pain and I send you my warmest regards. Winter is only half over, so here are some photos from a couple all night sessions from this past summer to warm your soul and help you stay positive until you can ride in a T-shirt again.
Tyrone Williams is as core as the bedrock New York City is built upon. The dude has been riding for close to two decades and running his lower Manhattan bike shop, Dah Shop, for half of that time. Despite working on bikes six days a week, Tyrone has shown no signs of slowing down and is always bringing something new to the table–like this double fire department connection manual. Speaking about riding at night, he’s practically made a career of it. Once he shuts that metal gate in front of Dah Shop, the streets are open for business for Tyrone every night–he even filmed an entire video part at night for Animal’s All Day.
Mr. AMPM himself… Joey Piazza came on the scene after I moved to California, but I’m sure that if I lived out East still, he’d be one of the dudes I rode with the most. We’ve all got our definitions or notions of what street riding is–and for me, it’s Joey. Joey made it his purpose to scour the streets of the five boroughs that make up New York City looking for spots–using maps, not apps, and just pedaling around the streets. Knowing your surroundings and having fun while figuring out how to apply your bike to what you find is what street is all about for me. Safe to say Joey knows his surroundings better than almost anybody, and he does a damn fine job of tastefully applying his bicycle to whatever he finds–case in point is this tricky 60/40. If you want to get a feel of what’s like to ride in NYC, then I highly suggest you study all the AM:PM videos.
Martin “Shiftlife” Ochoa has dual citizenship–his mom lives in Jersey and his dad lives in NYC, so through that loophole he can kinda claim both. Having roots in Jersey and NYC makes him street as fuck! And his riding backs that up 100%. He rides morning, noon, and night, and he’s one of the first dudes the Godfather of street, Ralph Sinisi, hits up when he’s looking to get a session in. Funny thing about Martin, is that even in the dead of winter he rides in shorts, so other than the missing hoodie, this photo wouldn’t look much different if it were shot in January.
Don’t get it twisted, Alex Duleba is from Illinois, but he was in town with Justin Benthien when I was out there. Alex is young, wild, and just down to ride non-stop. If his energy doesn’t get you motivated to ride then all hope is lost for you. Interesting thing we noticed about Alex when he was in NYC was that he never takes his helmet off–not even when we were in a swanky hip restaurant with babes everywhere–helmet never left his head. I’m pretty sure he still had it on when he got into his sleeping bag at the end of the night, too. Strange, but cool kid. As for his reflection of this peg grind in a curve, this spot down on Water Street is a good example of what riding late at night in NYC is like–this area would be so crowded during the day, but it’s like a ghost town late at night and despite him hitting this thing a bunch of times, nobody said a word.
This was Johnny’s maiden voyage to New York–and the east coast in general, I believe. And he got a proper taste of it with rain, humidity, and lots of late night sessions. I wasn’t out there with Johnny, but photographer Tristan Afre was, and this was his first time doing BMX related stuff in NYC too. Tristan shot a bunch of wild stuff with Johnny and they both got the full night experience–Tristan’s opener shot of the crew cruising down the middle of the street towards Times Square is, well… timeless.
Matt relocated from Philly to NYC a few years ago and he’s been leaving his mark all over the city. I can’t wait to see to what Matt and the boys have been cooking up for Chocolate Truck II. This temporary setup is just another one of those things that makes NYC so great. As if this 270 degree slanted curved bench isn’t incredible enough–the scaffolding threader takes it to the next level. I’m so hyped I got the opportunity to shoot this–an awesome rider, an amazing setup, and a cool looking spot–it doesn’t get much better. Oh, and we almost didn’t get this one due to the rain, but luck was on our side and it just sprinkled for a few minutes, moved one, and the metal bench was dry in no time.