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Denard Smith

If Rochester was a drink, it'd be black coffee. You either love it or you hate it.

Where are you from?

Rochester, born and raised. I've been here all my life.

What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?

The best part about living in Rochester is the fall season, approaching Halloween. It's the perfect flannel weather.

Do you have any favorite/secret Rochester spots?

My favorite spot in Rochester is wherever my friend Brandon's box is, because that's where all the homies are too.

What is your favorite time of day to hang out in the city?

I never really got to be in the city like that growing up. The other day me and some homies went downtown around 9, and it was pretty dope with all the Christmas lights.

What is your favorite day of the week?

Friday, because the whole crew was free on those days in high school, so the skate sessions were always hype. 

Describe your dream Rochester day.

I wake up and eat a veggie omelette around 9 and watch cartoons till about 11. That's normally when all the homies wake up. We all meet up at Brandon's house, and skate the box until we get hungry. Then we'll probably go get some cinnamon toes and pizza from Mr. Shoes (RIP). Then the crew hits the local skate park at Basil with some other locals, but not too many. The park is kinda small, so it gets jammed quick. After the skate park, all the homies will go get some coffee from The Spot till its time for everyone to go home. 

Do you have a favorite neighborhood?

I like all the OG spots on Ridge Road. Everything from the A-Plus gas station, to Big and Tall, to the Odyssey 5 stair. Every spot is mad chill and it's all in a line, so you never really get bored skating one spot or have to travel far for the next spot.


What is your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?

On cold gray days, I'm on Netflix watching full seasons of How I Met Your Mother.

What is your favorite Rochester memory?

My favorite Rochester memory is when Black Smith Skate Shop was on the front page of the business section in the newspaper. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined someone else being that into me and my business, especially at both of our young ages.

If Rochester were a drink, what would it be?

If Rochester were a drink, it'd be black coffee. You either love it or you hate it. 

Denard Smith is 23 years old and lives in south Carolina, but is originally from Rochester. I first met Denard on Menard Street, when I was about 13 or so, and he was skateboarding with our now mutual friend Brandon. Skateboarding was the mutual bond we had, and we became good friends. Denard runs his own skate business called Black Smith Skate Shop. He also helps run the Hungry & Humble business here in Rochester for clothing, and a good reminder to always stay hungry and humble. He also makes music! He usually comes up for the holidays, and we all like to hangout and catch up and plan for future. I’m grateful I got to squeeze this interview in with him while he was here for Christmas.

Interview by Stephen Luke