Company Spotlight: I ROLL NY

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          I Roll NY is a major part of the foundation in the resurgence of the NYC scene that has come about in recent years. It is a place that unites every skater in the 5 Boroughs, across the river to the island of Staten as well as the distant rollas in Buffalo & beyond. It is the central news hub that keeps everybody up to date with everything going on in the Empire State. I love I Roll NY since I can keep up with all of my NYC Rolling Family with a click of a mouse.           In this “Company Spotlight” I gave Craig Benabu a platform to open up about IRollNY, so enjoy this read, learn something new about IRollNY and remember to give the man credit if you use his pics & stories WITHOUT permission. ( I got your back Craig! )

Who’s Involved in IRollNY?                                                                                                                                                                              

          I Roll New York is made up of one person, myself. My name is Craig Benabu, I’m 23 years-old, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I run everything from the graphic designs, website maintenance, shirt designs, photography, videography…etc. You name it, I pretty much can and have to handle the situation haha. Besides my own work with I Roll NY I also get a lot of outside contributions from Angelo Ferrer and Layla Ferrer who make up the Art of Rolling, as well as Adonis Taylor and Christen Cofer of Evotek Media, Navin Hardyal of Skeptic Media, and Victor Callender of Wheels In Motion NYC. We’re all in a similar situation where we’re trying to promote our city and the skaters who are in it so we benefit from exposing each others work through my website.

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How long has I Roll NY been around?

          Publicly, the answer is simple. I Roll NY has been around for almost two years now. December 15th will actually be the official day that I Roll NY has been online for two years. But the answer gets more complicated if you ask when the idea of I Roll NY started haha. I guess I can mark it at roughly seven years ago (I have one of my first drafts of the design from ’02 if you want to see.) I wanted something that represented where I was from and what I loved to do that was easily recognizable and simple. New Yorker’s are proud of where they’re from and what they do so I played off of the I Love NY design because it was something that every New Yorker either owns or sees on a daily basis. It’s easily recognizable, iconic, and says you either live in New York, visited New York or at the very least represent New York. That’s what I wanted my design to convey. I wanted it to be an iconic presence that represented rollerblading in New York that anyone can wear and relate to.

          On a side note, the original idea of making a shirt was just something that I wanted to have for myself but if anyone has experience with trying to get a shirt done you know it’s almost impossible just to get one original tee created unless you’re willing to pay an absurd amount. When I first tried to get the shirt done, most of the places I went to flat out said no to the idea of just making one shirt haha. Also, I saw a lot of grassroots clothing companies from kids my age at the time, half the time younger than me, that were laughed and ridiculed and inevitably failed. I didn’t want to be just another company, or rather a website now, that came out of nowhere and eventually went back to nowhere. I guess that explains the five years of waiting to release the idea publicly haha.

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Can you give us a Company Bio?

          As for the company bio question I think I kind of covered it already. For a while I Roll NY became a partnership but there were too many issues and conflicts and eventually I Roll NY went back to just being run by me which I think worked out for the best. Also I’m kind of iffy on labeling what I do as a “company” because I don’t think I’m established enough (at least for my standards) for that label but I’ll roll with it haha. The whole theory or goal for the shirt aspect of I Roll NY is not to be representing me or my idea ya know? I Roll NY isn’t really something that you can label a brand or say “this guy owns it and runs it” or something cause it conveys a personal message. The tee allows you to represent what you personally love doing and where you love doing it. If you’re from New York or outside of New York the shirt represents what you love doing. It shows the bond we all have with each other in a simple way. I mean just look at David Sizemore in his Solo Collective Edit haha. Sorry, had to do at least one name drop. I was hyped when I saw the footage of him wearing the tee!

          As for the I Roll NY website, the idea came from the lack of coverage our scene was getting in our media. For a few years, and even now, there wasn’t a big name in our industry that was releasing anything focusing on New York or half the time featuring footage from New York so of course it lead kids to believe that our scene was dead. Being someone who frequents the online message boards, I constantly saw kids from outside New York saying that our scene either sucked or has died down just because they saw no coverage which was not the case at all. Taking their words personally, as a typical New Yorker would, I decided to respond back but instead of talking trash over the internet as so many opt to do I started collecting the little bits of media I found online focusing on New York and put them on my website for all to see. I spent hours online, still do till this day unfortunately, searching out any piece of content that dealt with New York or featured a New York skater allowing me to have something to write about on a daily basis. Just an FYI, a lot of the content you see on I Roll NY is the result of me wasting my days away on the internet. If the content doesn’t have my name on it, or Art of Rolling, or Evotek, or Skeptic, it was the result of me staying up till three in the morning looking for things to feature haha.

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What is your goal with I Roll NY?

          My goal for the website is to let the world know that New York has a very strong presence in the rolling community. Our scene is broad, yet connected, and increases everyday and I wanted to showcase that. I’d like to think that my website encourages the big names in our industry, whether it be pros or company owners, to visit our city and hold events here and I think that idea rings true seeing as the World Rolling Series picked NYC to be the host of the first street competition under their title. When all of the pros/company owners showed up to our weekly Lets Roll NY session before the WRS, held by Victor Callender, they were shocked at the amount of kids that came out on a regular basis. A lot of the big names in our industry were brought back to their childhood days. Some even knew about my website and checked it out frequently! As well, I try to use the I Roll NY website as a promotional tool for others. When I was creating edits in ’02-’03 there wasn’t really a platform for me to show my work besides the online message boards and I wanted to give kids who are trying to make a name for themselves and their friends an easy way to be recognized. For example, the NY media, photographer, videographer and skate shop links are all on my website to benefit the people that are featured.

           I guess you can say I use the site as a sort of resume builder for others haha. Kids can say, “Yeah I’m featured I Roll NY.” Ya know? Haha. I try to make the website as little about me as possible but unfortunately I don’t think people recognize that or at least take advantage of it. There are a lot of big names, established people, and up in comers in New York who can benefit our city and themselves even more by participating with what I’m doing. I constantly tell people to just shoot me an email with some photos or an edit and only very rarely does someone contact me. I hate the idea of struggling to find content due to people not participating because if www.irollny.com existed a few years back I would be submitting edits and pictures on a daily basis. To everyone who has any photos,edits,articles,designs…etc. featuring New York send me an email at irollny@gmail.com

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Craig Benabu & I Roll NY Thanks/Shout-Outs

          First, I want to say Roll In Peace to our lost friend Brian Scott. Second of all, I want to say thank you to all the skateboarding/bmx/scooter websites for using my photos without any credit haha. Getting that out of the way, thank you to Victor Callender, Angelo Ferrer, Adonis Taylor, Chris Cofer, and Navin Hardyal for their constant contributions to the site. Thank you to Ben Murphey and Roll Hype for the daily promotions. Thank you to Michael of Be-Mag for supporting our Lets Roll NY sessions. Thank you to Mathew Gorton and Joey G for helping me create the latest line of tees and thank you to Max, Malik, and Jordan for getting me sales haha. Thank you to Rob from Flatline Skateshop for carrying the tees. Check out www.myspace.com/flatlineskateshop. Thank you to Kevin Dowling for the shout out in Footage Tape and for representing our scene amazingly in the first episode. Thank you to anyone who visits the site on a daily basis, anyone who has contributed to the site, and anyone who has purchased and wears the I Roll NY tee. Finally, thank you to Lord Brian for the interview of course! I doubt I forgot anyone haha but if I did I’m sorry.

Support Craig Benabu & I Roll NY

http://www.irollny.com

http://www.twitter.com/irollny

http://www.facebook.com/irollny

http://www.myspace.com/irollny

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3 Responses to “Company Spotlight: I ROLL NY”

  1. […] of how everything got created. I want to say thanks again to Lord Brian for the oppurtunity. View the I Roll NY interview here and please show your support for his and my […]

  2. nyc’s rolling scene will be represented in my video 100%

  3. Thanks for the props, Craig! -B

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