Konstantin Satchek doesn’t gush about digital media like a blogger. When I meet him at Ninth St. Espresso, just blocks away from Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan’s East Village, he squirms around the word “content” like he’s embarrassed to have it in his vocabulary. Despite his website’s international acclaim, he doesn’t seem to possess an ounce of pretense. He even gave me a free hat.
This makes sense if you read Quartersnacks, the 27-year-old’s prolific New York skate blog which is now celebrating its tenth year. The site reads less like a news ticker and more like a transcript of conversations between the city’s sprawling skateboarder population—jokes about weather, sports, music, and politics that feel like texts from a friend. Hours before I met Satchek, Quartersnacks posted an “End of Summer” video, edited to a remix of Rich Homie Quan’s “Flex.” The footage feels anthropological: a season’s worth of skateboarding, outfits, and partying, effectively frozen in time.
“Since I was like 13, I always had some dumb little site that I was running,” Satchek says. In the early aughts, young skateboarders like him flocked to the internet’s unfettered democracy. Some of YouTube’s earliest adopters were skaters eager to share their makeshift clips. By the mid-2000s, highly produced films from major skate companies were competing with amateur videos distributed on message boards like Metrospective that Satchek checked obsessively. “I looked forward to that more than official videos dropping,” he recalls, despite the site updating twice a week at most. The split pointed to new standards in the sport: suddenly, there was an audience for videos that didn’t have the most technically advanced skating, but the most interesting.
Satchek’s upcoming book, TF at 1: Ten Years of Quartersnacks, is both a celebration of his site’s success and an authentic look at skateboarding’s past decade of growth and change. Published by powerHouse Books, the hardcover is titled after the tongue-in-cheek nickname for the empty Tompkins courts where the city’s skaters flock for warm-up sessions: TF stands for “training facility.” In his introduction, Satchek describes the All City Skate Jam, a 2002 event meant to revive street skating in the city that, after 9/11, had flooded skaters’ favorite spots with constant surveillance. TF at 1 presents archival photography and conversations with New York’s skateboard community as it grew and adapted to a changing environment, physically and digitally. “I spent the entire winter going through hard drives,” Satchek laughs. “Seeing all of my friends literally grow up on camera was pretty crazy.”
It’s well documented that years of commercial development has rendered large swaths of New York totally anew, but TF at 1 traces an intriguing parallel shift: skate culture today also looks little like it did a decade ago. Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne skateboard in their music videos, and the sport has markedly influenced the worlds of art, photography, and fashion. Satchek recalls a recent episode he witnessed at Supreme, where a patron requested an “Ian Connor T-shirt,” mistaking a tee featuring legendary New York skater Harold Hunter for the self-proclaimed “King of the Youth” who modeled in Kanye West’s fashion show. Still, the author says, TF at 1 doesn’t take itself, or skateboarding, too seriously. Instead, the book celebrates one of skate culture’s purest draws: “There’s nothing to be cynical about with skating because it’s all fun,” Satchek says. “If anything, more girls notice you for skating now than 10 years ago.”