Nocturnal Skateshop is as synonymous with Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell or the cheese steak.
For skateboarders, Nocturnal has been the official skateshop of The City Of Brotherly Love for more than a decade. Habitat pro Kerry Getz opened Nocturnal at the turn of the new millennium in 2000 and it quickly became as much a tourist location for skaters as Love Park and FDR.
For 12 years Nocturnal serviced the Philly skate scene but in 2012 Getz was forced to close his doors to regroup in this uncertain economic climate that’s been looming over America in recent years. Recently Kerry wisely partnered up with Brannon John and Ben Jones of Kinetic Skateshop and reopened Nocturnal in late April 2013 in its new home on South Street to reclaim its title of Philly’s official skateshop.
The biggest DIY move you can make in skateboarding is opening your own shop. What made you want to do it?
Philly needed a shop after Subzero closed. There wasn't a good feeling shop in the city. You need a shop with a comfortable, warm, welcoming feel to it with great prices and product.
Describe the scene in your area that your shop has helped cultivate.
The skate scene in Philly was incredible in the early 2000s and kind of died down late 2000s with the banning of Love Park and other amazing skate spots in Philly.
Philly just opened a huge new skate plaza at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum and it's really added some great new energy to the skate scene. We also have a bunch of amazing DIY spots both permission and renegade that are adding to the mix.
When you think of DIY skate spots, what comes to mind? What are your favorite DIY spots of all time?
The Nocturnal crew has built tons of DIY spots over the years but the city would always tear them down. When we were building our DIY spots we knew we only had a couple weeks or months to enjoy them, so we went with basic ledges with angle iron on them. I'm sure you've seen Brian Wenning destroy our DIY spots in the mid 2000s.
Why are DIY spots so important to a scene?
It helps grow the skate scene and gives skaters a place to film and skate everyday. In these days, DIY spots are more popular then most skate spots.
It also give the kids a sense of accomplishment, their is something about getting it done on your own and not waiting around for someone to do it for you.
What were some of the DIY spots your skate scene has had over the years, even as far back as when you were growing up?
I had a local public pool with a huge parking lot that had a foot high kicker in it. It surrounded the parking lot and had 2' high curb on the top.
We would rip that thing to shreds. The public pool would let us build our own DIY ledges and manny pads there. They also had a bike rack we would move so our local ledge Brian Mangold AKA "HERM" could late shuv it over it out of the foot high kicker. Good times!
What are your thoughts on the recent resurgence of kids making their own spots all over the place? And why is it necessary, especially on the East Coast, when so many municipalities are making subpar parks.
"DIY till you die," enough said! That and the East Coast isn’t like California or Oregon tons of cities and towns still don’t have parks.
What is your take on the fact that for very cheap skaters can make a very good spot whereas townships spend ungodly amounts of money on awful parks?
I hate when the cities think they know what they’re doing and start building tranny and ledges and they've never even stepped foot on a skateboard. Give the kids the money and let them run wild in the streets. DIY or DIE.
Tell us about the place you’ve chosen to refurbish for this Red Bull DIY contest? Who started it? When did it start? What was the location?
Philly has an awesome DIY scene going with four to five different on going spots. We decided we will do a couple little patch jobs in the city but didn’t want to blow anybody’s spot out or have it get bulldozed.
Red Bull put up enough money to really build something good. We decided to team with Kinetic and 5th Pocket just south of Philly at 7th Street in Wilmington. It is always going to stick around the longest when you can build something that will impress the city.
Who is your work crew that is helping on the refurbishing?
It will be everyone from the shop and Jesse Clayton he is the mastermind behind most of the DIY stuff in Philly.
What does this Red Bull DIY contest mean to you and your scene?
We are hyped Red Bull is doing this contest, so many companies spend their marketing budgets on stuff that has no impact on their customers and the kids, this is going to give kids better spots to skate, you can’t beat that.
Describe your dream DIY spot, if you had endless resources, what would you build?
I've always wanted to build my own mega ramp over my house. It's a 1-level rancher and always wanted to kick flip that shit.
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