By WILLY STALEY
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Eugene Kang sat in the middle of Terminal Skateshop, telling a story about a problem customer, a neighborhood barber who came in looking to buy a board. Mr. Kang helped him pick one out, along with trucks, wheels, bearings — the works — and, making small talk, asked him where he normally skates. The barber explained that he didn’t; he just wanted to hang the board up at work, for show.
“I put everything back,” Mr. Kang said. “I was like, ‘Nah, you got the wrong shop.’ ” When the barber protested, Mr. Kang explained that Terminal was for skateboarders, and since the barber was not a skateboarder, he was an intruder.
“You gotta go,” Mr. Kang recalled saying, clapping his hands for emphasis. “It’s my house, bro!” He meant this literally.
The building on the corner of Wadsworth Avenue and 185th Street in Upper Manhattan doesn’t appear to be hiding any secrets. The buzzer to Apartment 5A reads, simply, “Kang.” But inside, Mr. Kang’s walls are covered with shrink-wrapped skateboards; where you might expect to find a sofa, there’s a rack of T-shirts instead; a shelf packed with shoes, five-panel hats and patterned socks blocks the threshold to an adjacent bedroom.