The 5w’s w/ Craig Benabu

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Craig Benabu’s 5W’s is a great read and I hope that it lights a fire under NYC’s collective asses. I sent over my questions and he provided me with thorough answers making this my favorite 5W’s thus far. Thank you Craig for being honest and telling it like it is.

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With all of the new amazing talent that is brewing in every borough WHO do you see as the young leaders of the future of NYC blading?
No doubt there is a ton of talent in NYC, but as for leaders? Unfortunately, I really don’t see anyone stepping up to the plate and trying to do something more for our scene than just trying to make a name for themselves and the small group of friends they skate with. A leader to me is someone who is trying to expose our local scene and talent as a whole. A leader is someone who shows love to everyone, not just a select few. Our scene lacks unity. There was a short period of time where most, if not all, of the rollerblading media heads were working together or at least working under the same umbrella, and honestly that was when NYC was blowing up again within the blade media. I’d say this was around 2009 up until late 2010, where most decided that they would be better off on their own focusing on stamping their name on everything and only working within their own website or crew.

Now look where NYC is at. There’s no coverage on our scene on any non local blade media site, or in any magazines or videos, and the people that branched out are barely putting out any new media. We’re back to being one of the biggest but least exposed scenes within this small community and honestly it’s our fault. Everyone’s too concerned with just building their name up instead of building up NYC as a whole.

You are always in the lab cooking up some great promotional items such as the classic I Roll NY tees & the New York Rollers snapback, WHAT is next on the creative horizon for 2012?
I can’t give you a definitive answer to this question yet. I’d really like to surprise everyone with a new product. I’m always thinking about products that I feel like blading is lacking. That was one of the main reasons why I created the snapback in the first place. I saw that rollerblading didn’t really have any dope hats that didn’t slap a company’s logo on it. I figured why not make a blading hat that makes it look like we’re on a team?

I guess it was my way of uniting one another through a product instead of just through the website. I still get emails and messages asking for the snapback and the I Roll NY tee so I’m always debating on if I should re-release them for the people that missed out, but I like the idea of exclusivity with products. Personally, I hate wearing the same clothes as someone else, and I’m pretty sure a lot of other New York bladers would agree. Exclusivity and being a New Yorker go hand and hand. I can tell you however that the next product you’ll see on the site will be a collaborative effort with I Roll NY and an NYC based street wear clothing line. Also, Tee from SpoildBrat recently hit me up about working on a collab piece together so maybe we’ll see something in the near future.

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With all of the daily work that you do for the New York rollerblading scene WHEN do you find time for yourself to just relax and what do you end up doing?
I’ve probably said this to you and everyone else before, but ironically, running a website about rollerblading has actually prevented me from going out and blading as much as I’d like to. I would spend a lot of my time sitting behind a computer struggling to find New York media to post on the site, but now that I recently had the chance to update my equipment I can now go back to focusing on creating my own original content without having to depending on others. So now I even have less time to relax haha. When I do have some down time from updating the site, filming, editing, taking photos, creating graphics, and soft goods, I just like to go out and blade with some good tunes and the few friends that get me hyped. I feel like I’ve regressed a lot within my own blading so now I’m just trying to rebuild and regain the same confidence I had when I was 16. Other than the occasional sesh, I usually just end up hanging out with friends, listening to music, or vegging out in front of the TV as a way to relax.

Let’s go down the hunger route real quick, WHERE in Brooklyn is the best slice of pizza?
This will probably be the most precise answer I’ll give haha. I’ve been in Brooklyn my whole life and have had the chance to try pizza from East New York to Coney Island, hitting up every spot in between. If you want the best classic round slice, go to Originals Pizza in Canarsie, my hometown. It’s actually the first, if I’m not mistaken, Originals Pizza. I think you can still see a photo of myself in there from back in my baseball days. If you want the best brick oven round slice, you have to go to Totonno’s in Coney Island. Only catch is, you can’t order just a couple of slices. They only serve full pies and only make a certain amount a day so get there early. If you want the best square pie, there’s L & B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst. If you’re low on cash though, or just need a quick slice, your best bet is always the dollar pizza spots in Manhattan. Can’t ever go wrong with them.

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With rollerblading nowhere near big enough to provide bladers & company owners with a cost of living WHY do you do what you do?
I never got into this for the money, or with an idea that I’ll be making money off of rollerblaidng. In all honestly, I think that’s a pretty naive idea to want to do anything within this industry and I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. If you’re reading this and debating on whether or not you should create your own soft / hard goods company in rollerblading, do not expect to make a living solely off this. You can’t expect to make any type of financial gain in an industry where you have more supply than demand. I think that’s why we see a lot of companies come and go with ease. It’s corny but I guess you can say, I do it for the love.

Well, more specifically, I do it for the lack of representation our scene has and creating the site was my way of showing our scene and uniting it. Unfortunately, as I said before, people aren’t looking at the big picture and are only concerned with themselves.

After all these years HOW do you keep up with providing new content daily to I ROLL NY?
Well this year I’ve made some changes. I stopped mindlessly posting content and media from anyone and everyone. After about five years of showing love to just about anyone, I started to ask myself who were the people that were showing love back? Who were the people that I helped come up in this industry that still continue to help the site out? And unfortunately the list was and still is very small. With mostly everyone only looking out for themselves these days, I decided that it’s not fair to our scene as a whole to share content from people who’s only focus was to build their name up. As I said before, I recently updated my equipment so now I have the chance to create content that brings the site’s focus back on the NYC scene as a whole myself.

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3 Responses to “The 5w’s w/ Craig Benabu”

  1. […] the full interview on ShutUpAndSk8. “Craig Benabu’s 5W’s is a great read and I hope that it lights a fire under NYC’s […]

  2. Great interview. The unity of the nyc skate scene was always something that bothered me personally and to have some like Craig speak up about it might help others to see that there should be more solidarity in the nyc skate scene. Thanks SUAS

  3. cool tees. proboot!!!

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