I went to Europe for the first time this past summer with etnies and it's all right here. It was all really great and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
There're great things and really boring things about being a skateboarder who travels all the time as a part of the job. I interviewed Johnny Layton a few years back and he was rather blasé about a trip to South America, which I called him on, but I get it now.
Bratrud's book is out, I HATE: The Art of Todd Bratrud and you can buy it here, but if you can locally source it, better yet. I'm not sure who in the city, skateshop wise, will be carrying the book, but I'll let you know if I do figure it out.
I'm still all for any Platty Awards ideas, as detailed here.
Quartersnacks is killing it with "The Events That Defined New York Skateboarding In 2011 and you should read it all and keep an eye on further developments.
Go Wolves, and cheers to Spring in December.