My girlfriend Kathy and I set out and drove to the jam in inhuman conditions - over 100 degrees for 6 hours on the road with no AC - but no problem as I knew what the weekend had in store, the NYPK jam, our country's longest running national jam event! We arrived Friday night around 11:00PM to a crowd of the regulars gathered on the front lawn of Jesse's house - Max and Brian, Pyro and Knox, as well as many new faces were gathered there. I knew we had missed another great cookout, and this year due to the heat, for the first time in 4 years, I decided not to sleep out on Jesse's porch. Having a hotel room with a shower was well worth it. Read more for the rest of the jam write up from M2, Jesse Danger and Sha ...
This year, the jam's organizers, Jesse, Pyro, Sha, decided it best to go in groups so that each smaller group would be able to jam longer in each spot without getting kicked out. NY is full of great spots to train, so each group had great options. I went in Group 1 - Sanctuary at the south end of Riverside Park, and Thompkins Square Park. Sanctuary is a sweet location with some abstract structures made form wood slats that offer a huge variety of training and movement options from strides to kongs to tic-tacs. There's a water fountain right there with decent quality water, and it's 2-3 blocks from deli's and shop for whatever else you want. After a nice warm up me and a few others worked on some precisions and handstands most of the time, with the more advanced members in the group doing some huge strides and some runs with kongs, strides, and sideflips. Within minutes, Kathy's handstands were better than mine. Whatever! A few people worked on a cool route with a lacher from tree to wall and back to precision.
Sha rounded us up to head out towards Columbus Circle on our way to Thompkins around 1:00. Unfortunately, after we left Reese Sanchez was going for a kong to punch front and broke his wrist. Thomas Dolan took him to the hospital, after having it wrapped, he was back on his feet and jamming. The first group out was unaware of this and headed south through Riverside park.
I broke off from the group to see Knox, he was there for the jam but ended up landing a spot in a national Samsung commercial which will be released for the Olympics.
From there, Kathy and I headed over to Thompkins. I was crushed to find out that Ray's pizza no longer had Italian Ice, but it was made up for by a cart vendor in Thompkins. At this point the groups were pretty scattered, but I spent some quality time with Rick Seedman and a bunch of the Bar-Barians. I even did a round of their workout (they mostly did 8-10 rounds!). I was pretty sore after that. We worked on some railwork and moving through the bars and had a pretty chill session at Thompkins before we headed to the amphitheater at Grand St.
At Grand we were treated (ha ha ha) to a free concert - some dudes a little older than me banging out some harsh heavy metal in a "Bring back Rock and Roll" festival, there were about 8 people in the audience until we got there, both groups converged and thus we had about 100 of us and 8 overaged rockers. The parkour group was welcomed by the rockers and even did a flip line off the stage during the performance. The amphitheater is awesome and offers tons of training opportunities of all kinds. It was great to see Nikkie, Andrew, Elet, and too many others to name who were not in my original group. Elet did a beast stride to rail precision (pics anyone) and Pyro beasted out a running jump to (crane?) at the top of the seating.
From there, me and a small group headed out as we had tickets to see Traces - our minds were blown by this incredible show - anyone who likes parkour, freerunning, tricking, or circus should definitely see this show!!
Sunday morning we had a late start and met up with the group behind Heckscher Playground in Central Park. This is Jesse's home trainign ground, and he is a beast at all the terrain here that the rocks have to offer. A few of us tried to match his prowess as he climbed the rocks with Brian Prince on his back - a few succedded with smaller wegith ratios but it was tough! Jesse also lead us to QM backwards up several routes on the rocks which was another grueling challenge which required everyone's best efforts.
Sadly, as our car was in Clifton and we had to head to DC, Kathy and I made off from there to take our 6 hours in the heat back home. The rest of the group headed up to Sheep's Meadow for tricking and the Ramble for some rock scrambling and natural parkour.
From Jesse: From Heckscher the group headed over to Bethesda Terrace, a beautifully carved sandstone structure at the south of Central Park's lake. Max Henry picked out a couple tough climbs and others followed suit. We jumped from pillar to pillar and shimmied along the walls until the local musical performers got sick of us stealing the attention of tourists. We all made our way to the Ramble where people practiced some jenky climbing problems and striding from rock to rock. After a while at the waterfall we took a short course through the woods and practiced some more climbing at a face at the top of the lake. Metze and Will from Michigan worked on a tough no handed climb up and Andrew Treble managed to flash the same one going down. Thoroughly tired the group headed to Chipotle to finish off the day.
At that point, Sha took a group around to the mid-town spots to burn off the rest of their energy and enjoy some sunset jamming - the perfect finish for PKNY 2012!
As always, this is one of the most fun parkour events you can attend, the hosts are great, the spots are amazing, and the people of NY are great to jam with. I'm already looking forward to next year!