Baby’s All Right is well-known as a venue that hosts rising acts and serves house-special sugary drinks, but it’s now scored some internet fame for its $1 taco happy hour deal. Over the weekend, a short video of a skateboarding taco crashing into a moving vehicle while brandishing a sign promoting Baby’s deal went viral when it was released on the club’s Instagram account. The star/victim of a fairly ingenious marketing strategy that plays on a few of the internet’s favorite topics (tacos and people getting hurt), the man inside the taco, Jon Newport, finds the reaction to his (thankfully not too traumatizing) crash amusing.
“I just think it’s hilarious,” he says. “My buddies are trippin’ and everyone is hitting me up asking if I was OK. Tony Hawk fucking Instagrammed it! And Yelawolf!”
Newport has been skating since 1999 and is close with the people who operate Baby’s. With the newly pleasant weather, they figured this could be an opportunity to capitalize on and asked Newport if he’d be interested in donning the taco suit.
“My buddies over at Baby’s All Right were like, ‘Would you be willing to skate around in a taco outfit?’ ” says Newport. “We talked about it and I agreed to head out for two hours. I pregamed a little bit over at Baby’s All Right [drinking the club’s famous Pink Babies], and one of the lovely ladies that bartends there, Nicole, made a sign that said ‘$1 Tacos @ Baby’s.’ And then I told my homie Ben [Wilkes, Baby’s production manager], ‘Listen, man, go to the bottom of the [Williamsburg] Bridge and I’ll be there in ten minutes.’ ”
A video posted by Baby’s All Right (@babysallright) on
Wilkes set up his shot at the base, where the bridge’s pedestrian walkway spews out onto Berry Street. That’s when Newport rolled down. “I see him down there, I went a little bit up where it starts to get wavy, and the rest is history,” he says.
Zipping down the walkway, Newport gets the advertisement in perfect view before launching into the street among traffic, nailing a tea-green sedan.
“It was like an Uber,” laughs Newport. “It was a car service. The dude got out and was shook, so shook, and I was like, ‘I’m fine. Can you please reverse off my skateboard?’ It was broken in half. That’s what that loud noise is [in the video]. I was basically unscathed, just my skateboard got broken.”
Though most videos we see on the internet appear to have been staged or manipulated, Newport states that, in this case, it was solely controlled chaos. “I knew there was a strong possibility of there being a car, but also, it was rush hour so I knew they wouldn’t be going too fast,” he reasons. “I just honestly thought it would be funny as shit and I had a gut feeling that something was going to go down. I did not know it was going to be a car collision, but I went on instinct.”
Newport was born in Dalton, Georgia, and even though the culinary wonders of the South are internationally adored, tacos aren’t the food that immediately comes to mind when you think of snacks from the region. Regardless, he’s proud and confident in the tacos from back home. He’s a big carnitas fan.
“The Mexican food from where I’m from is phenomenal. I wish you could get it!” he says. “It must be from a different region of Mexicans that migrated to Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee; it’s a different vibe down there. It’s similar but with different taco shells, different white queso dip with jalapeño chips in it — I’ve never found it up here.”
His skateboarding had led him to travel the world, and he’s appeared in magazines, but this week Jon Newport gained notoriety through another outlet.
“I don’t think I’d die for a taco,” he says. “But I might die as a taco.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 15, 2015