Skateboarding can be fickle, and as the 90s progressed into the aughts, some of the biggest names in the skating scene began to recede, replaced by a newer generation. Even in the age of the internet, where it feels like no one can hide, there are some guys who seem to have disappeared – save for a few threads on message boards wondering where they are these days. One might say that OG Anthony Correa is one of these criminally underrated skaters, a guy who not only could not only shred, but whose contributions to the lifestyle are still felt today – from his involvement in the now-iconic Zoo York Mixtape to the Houston skate-meets-art shop he co-owns today, A-front.
Below, we take a look at some of the highlights of Correa’s involvement in the scene.
ZOO YORK MIXTAPE
Zoo York was the East Coast’s first true skateboarding-inspired lifestyle brand, and the Zoo York Mixtape – an hour-long video containing skate footage from team members and freestyles from Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Ghostface Killah and Method Man – was what put them on the map. Released in 1997, the video was made by Anthony Correa and his best friend R.B. Umali, an NYU film student at the time. Both were freshly transplanted from Houston, and both had become integral figures of NYC’s up-and-coming skating scene, one that was starting to become more racially and culturally diverse than it ever had been. The mixtape not only established Zoo York as a hub for East Coast skate culture, it’s also widely credited as one of the first documents of the union between skateboarding and hip hop, and the entry of black and Latino skaters into the subculture.
Beanies and camo are a dime a dozen at any worthwhile streetwear store these days, but before the Hypebeasts were rocking them, they were a functional choice for skaters. Correa in particular was known for wearing beanies, which kept him warm during late night skate missions when it got colder out. He was also known for his fatigue-inspired pants, a look that has since been co-opted into higher end menswear brands.
Correa was a frequent protagonist in the Zoo York videos from back in the day. In an interview with RB Umali, he describes one of Correa’s best moves: “Again, over the Banks wall—that’ll always be some of my favorite tricks. Anthony Correa has been a best friend of mine for about 20 years now, and that was definitely the best trick I filmed of him over the Banks wall. And he did it so perfect. It was just a good era; we were all there. I know Spencer Fujimoto was there. Harold [Hunter] was there. [Danny] Supa was there. We were all just so psyched to see Anthony do that trick, which I don’t think had been done over the wall at that time. And he did it so smooth and clean.”
After doing his thing in NYC, Correa returned to his native Houston, where he opened A-front, a streetwear shop in the Sixth Ward that features everything from footwear to pop art to essential skate culture products. It’s an essential space in the city, helping keep the culture fresh and bring up the next generation of skaters and creatives keeping the vibe going.