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Friday, June 4, 2010
Updated: June 21, 11:35 AM ET
Maloof Money Cup NYC practice day

By Adam Salo
ESPN Action Sports

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Chris Cole wouldn't mind being King of Queens. Frontside nosegrind on the Union Square replica rail.

Maloof Money Cup NYC prelims kick off Saturday afternoon and nearly every major street pro and am you can think of was at the new plaza in Flushing Queens Friday getting accustomed to the course and feeling out their angles for some big moves come go-time. Talk about a heated session (literally ... it was a New York-89 degrees out there today). When Dennis Busenitz is flying around at mach 10, Torey Pudwill is getting to work on tech-gnar bangers and legends like Mark Gonzales are rolling around, it's worth the trip to the outer Boroughs to see for yourself.

Yup, even the legendary Mark Gonzales was there. 41-year-old front boards are awesome.

The afternoon began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the park and mark the start of the weekend. Joe, George and Gavin Maloof were all in attendance, as well as Vans' luminary Steve Van Doren. All were given well-earned rounds of applause for their contributions to skateboarding and, for the Maloofs, for their gift of an amazing new permanent skatepark for the city of New York and its skaters. When I asked Chris Cole what he thought of the course, he made a point to say, "I think it'll be amazing when we leave and the kids from around here will have this to skate every day."

Cole handled the course well from the get-go. He walked in and pulled a frontside shove-it to backside nosegrind down one of the medium-sized hubba ledges as one of his warm up tricks. Brian Anderson was throwing his weight around with boosted frontside bonelesses over the hips and no-comply tailslides on the banks. Torey Pudwill was already pulling stuff like a frontside feeble grind to kickflip out on the curved Union Square rail replica while Chima Ferguson and a few others were already hucking themselves down the sizable nine-stair. Ferguson pulled a varial heel down the beast in what may have been his first attempt.

The happiest man in skateboarding, Theotis Beasley drops a kickflip backside tailslide on one of the hubbas.

Trick talk aside, it's amazing to see so many of skateboarding's personalities and styles meeting, gelling and clashing all in one place. One of skating's polarizing personalities, Baby Schizo of "PJ Ladd's Wonderful Horrible Life" fame, nearly came to blows with another crazy character, Deathwish skateboards' own Lizard King. Eli Reed, Alex Olson and Jason Dill apparently didn't call each other to check what outfit the others would be wearing, as all three were on the course in nearly matching white tank top undershirts tucked in to chino pants like something out of a 1950s gangster movie.

Beyond feuds and fashion, the course in Flushing is amazing and dudes were tearing it up. The near-replica NYC street spots that have been adapted for this course seem to be a little more user-friendly than their raw street counterparts; the Unisphere fountain grate gap, for example, is only about four-feet wide where the original was over six. "My favorite obstacle is probably the grate," Zero and Vans pro Keegan Sauder said. "I like to ride across it." Sauder's bet for the cash and the Cup? "Dennis Busenitz."

Things are heating up and the contest will definitely be going off tomorrow and Sunday. Keep checking back as we'll be bringing you coverage of the event all weekend long and one banger of a recap video filmed and edited by the one and only RB Umali when it's all said and done.

Anthony Van Engelen rips a five-0 across the banked wallie obstacle.