Monday, September 9, 2019
A visit to the TF in Tompkins Square Park
On Saturday afternoon, the skaters on the court (aka TF — for Training Facility) in Tompkins Square Park were in a celebratory mood.
A rally had been organized to protest the city's plan to place a synthetic turf on this space in the northwest corner of the Park. However, less than 24 hours before the going-viral rally was to take place, the city announced late Friday that it would no longer carry out those plans, which were quietly revealed during a Community Board committee meeting in May.
"Tompkins Square Park has served as the epicenter of NYC skateboard culture for decades, as such, we have decided to leave the area previously proposed for synthetic in the park as is, and will not move forward with creating a synthetic turf area there," Parks Department spokesperson Crystal Howard said in a statement to Patch.
On Saturday, Mitchell Silver, commissioner for the New York City Parks Department, also stopped by the TF. (He spoke to CBS 2 in this report.)
East Village resident Adam Zhu (pictured below), who grew up skating here, launched a petition in late June to spare the asphalt from the fake turf ... and eventually gathered more than 32,000 signatures from people who wanted to preserve this important part of the skate community and youth culture.
EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by the TF on Saturday and shared these photos...
The turf project will still happen at several area parks as a result of the city's flood-protection plan that will close East River Park next March for 3.5-plus years. The city needs to find space for the sports teams and youth leagues who use the fields along East River Park.
There's a march and rally for East River Park on Saturday, Sept. 21. Details at this link. We'll be posting much more about this event in the days ahead.