Showing posts with label skateboarding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skateboarding. Show all posts

Monday, September 19, 2022

Big changes are coming to the iconic skate spot in Tompkins Square Park

One of the city's most iconic skate spots will have a new look and feel by the fall of 2023. 

Next year, the Parks Department will reconstruct the multipurpose courts in Tompkins Square Park along Avenue A and 10th Street, adding various amenities, including a two-lane seal-coated walking loop, and new asphalt. 

City officials unveiled the plans during Community Board 3's Parks, Recreation, Waterfront, & Resiliency Committee virtual meeting this past Thursday (as we first reported here). Max Goodstein, a landscape architect with the Parks Department, provided a brief overview. 

The space, he said, has a lot of "asphalt structural damage," and it "needs to be replaced and repaired. And the only way to do that is to take all the asphalt down to the sub base and put new asphalt down." 

Other additions: new benches, a kickball court, a high-low fountain that kids and adults can use simultaneously, and three new basketball backstops at the eastern end, replacing the ones that always seem to be damaged. 
Workers will also remove the dugouts and backstop as the Parks Department no longer permits softball games in this space...
Here's a schematic of the reconstructed layout...
... and an overview of the amenities, which includes "1939 World's Fair benches" ...
Goodstein estimated the project would take three months to complete, but he wasn't sure when work will be ready to commence.  

"The start date hasn't been finalized yet," he said. "It's going to take three months, and we should definitely be done by next fall." 

The presentation was more of an informational session, and no vote was required by the CB3 committee. The reconstruction is moving forward.

So what does this mean for the skaters on the lot (aka TF), hallowed ground where generations have used this space dating to the 1980s? (It has been called "the last great meet-up spot for skateboarders and their friends in New York.") 

One resident commented during the meeting: "I'm really concerned that the young people in this neighborhood are being pushed out of this famous, much-loved, much-used skating space. You even opened it with pictures of skaters. What are you going to do about this?" 

Goodstein said that he skated here in his youth and has had conversations with the skaters about the pending changes. 

Another Parks rep, Steve Simon, chief of staff to the Manhattan Borough Commissioner, chimed in at this point. 

"Max and I went there, and we personally spoke to a group of them, and they were very much in support of what we intended to do," he said. "They want to have an improved surface. And what we're doing here is by no means going to displace them. [The skaters said that] they appreciate what we're doing. And the only thing they really wanted from us ... a fountain and a slightly different variation on the layout of the benches. So we're gonna accommodate them. They were pretty thrilled with what we're planning to do and with the fact that we went out there and just spoke to them." 

It's unclear just how thrilled the skaters will be with the final product next fall — after the space will likely be under construction for the prime summer months. It's also unclear what might happen with the various ramps and rails the skaters use. 
As you may recall, in September 2019, the skateboarding community came together via a petition started by Adam Zhu and signed by 33,000-plus people to show their support for keeping the multipurpose courts free of synthetic turf...  plans apparently only known to residents who attended a Community Board 3 committee meeting in May 2019. Adding artificial turf would have rendered the space useless for skateboarders and street hockey players, among other groups. 

However, less than 24 hours before a much-publicized rally was to take place, the city announced that it would no longer cover the space in turf, originally proposed to make up for the amenities lost during the years-long gutting of East River Park.

"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 at the time. 

And the reconstructed layout of the space may make this the end of the epicenter of NYC skateboard culture.

Previously on EV Grieve:

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

FA debuts on 9th Street; the green bench arrives in Tompkins Square Park

FA — better-known as Fucking Awesome World Entertainment — debuted on Saturday at 420 E. Ninth St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

The skateboard company and streetwear brand, co-owned by pro skaters Jason Dill and AVE (aka Anthony Van Engelen), opened its first retail space in Los Angeles in 2019. This is the first East Coast outpost for FA.

The shop's grand opening also saw the arrival of the green bench, a very special guest brought here by the owners of FA and currently a block away in the skating (TF) area of Tompkins Square Park

Here's more about it via Curbed, who first reported about it coming here:
The green bench is in Tompkins Square Park right now.
If you're a skateboarder — or a former skateboarder, or at least somewhat skateboarding-adjacent — and live in New York City, that sentence cannot be read without an exclamation point. The green bench! That's because this particular 300-pound piece of steel street furniture has become one of the most storied objects to skate around and on, and its arrival on the East Coast adds a coda to a two-decade saga of discovery, theft, loss, reconstruction, and a particularly hard-won switch backside noseblunt slide across its 13-foot arc.
EVG contributor Stacie Joy went to check out the green bench...
... and found it in heavy use ...
Back to FA, their store hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

No. 420 was previously Puppy Love & Kitty Kat, the 10-year-old pet supplies and grooming shop that closed in 2019.

Storefront photo by Steven. Thanks to William Klayer for sharing pics as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Scenes from Save Tompkins Day



Photos by Stacie Joy

Monday was a day of celebration on the ballfields/TF at Tompkins Square Park... a day that marked the one-year anniversary of the city's decision not to put artificial turf on the northwest corner of Tompkins... sacred ground for generations of skateboarders.

The skate community marked the day by bringing in a variety of vendors for a flea market of sorts in which all the money was being donated to at-risk local businesses and BLM-related causes. (Organizer Adam Zhu, an East Village resident, reported in an Instagram post that more than $10,000 was raised on Monday.)

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these portraits from the afternoon in Tompkins...






































...and on the TF...








Friday, September 6, 2019

Breaking: Parks officials say they will NOT be putting down a synthetic turf in Tompkins Square Park; skateboarders rejoice


[EVG file photo]

On the eve of a rally to save the Tompkins Square Park multipurpose courts from a future of synthetic turf, Parks officials have announced that they will no longer move forward with their plans.

Organizers behind tomorrow's rally posted the news on Instagram...



As we reported on July 2, the city had plans — apparently only known to residents who may have attended a Community Board committee meeting in May — to cover the courts with synthetic turf, rendering the space useless for skateboarders and street hockey players, among other groups.

The turf project, happening at several area parks, is 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.

More than 32,000 people had signed the petition — titled "Save Tompkins Square asphalt!" — since early July.

Instead of a rally tomorrow, the skateboarders are now planning a celebration.

Previously on EV Grieve:
• No winners yet in Tompkins Square Park synthetic turf battle (Aug. 27)

• Petition to 'Save Tompkins Square asphalt!' closing in on 19,000 signatures (July 8)

• Skateboarders upset over plan to add synthetic turf to the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park (July 2)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

[UPDATED] Rally Saturday afternoon to keep the Tompkins Square Park asphalt courts free of synthetic turf



Updated 9/6
The city has announced that it will no longer cover the court with synthetic turf!

--

The skateboarding community is coming together Saturday afternoon to show their support for keeping the multipurpose courts in the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park free of synthetic turf.

As we reported on July 2, the city has plans — apparently only known to residents who may have attended a Community Board committee meeting in May — to cover the courts with synthetic turf, rendering the space useless for skateboarders and street hockey players, among other groups.

The turf project, happening at several area parks, is 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.

Here's more from Adam Zhu, the East Village resident who launched the petition — titled "Save Tompkins Square asphalt!" — in early July:

For generations, Tompkins has been a safe haven for skateboarders and other marginalized activities. It serves as a melting pot for all walks of life and is an integral part of our identity as a neighborhood and community.

The city now plans to install AstroTurf there to prioritize permitted sports, which will destroy the way our community has utilized this park for decades. Please join me on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. in the NW corner of the Park to show the city what this park means to us!

In July, reps for the skateboarders met with the Parks Department. Both sides have reported that it was a productive meeting. However, Crystal Howard, a spokesperson for the Parks Department, told Patch last week that the proposal to turn the lot into astroturf remains. "We continue to consider the skateboarder's interests as we review the matter," she said.

You can find the petition here. As of last evening, there were over 32,000 signatures.

As Zhu recently told The New York Times: "There is something important about this specific spot, and that has to do with the history of the park at large and our personal history with the park — having grown up here, met all our friends here.

"I’m not fighting to make this a skate park," he added. “It’s a multiuse park, and it functions very well as is."

Previously on EV Grieve:
• No winners yet in Tompkins Square Park synthetic turf battle (Aug. 27)

• Petition to 'Save Tompkins Square asphalt!' closing in on 19,000 signatures (July 8)

• Skateboarders upset over plan to add synthetic turf to the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park (July 2)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

No winners yet in Tompkins Square Park synthetic turf battle


[Art via]

The New York Times finally checks in on a story that we (and other outlets) have been following these past two months — the city's desire to place a synthetic turf on the concrete courtyard (aka TF) in Tompkins Square Park.

As we reported on July 2, the city has plans — apparently only known to residents who may have attended a Community Board committee meeting in May — to cover the multipurpose courts in the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park with synthetic turf, a move that surprised and upset a major user of that space for 30-plus years —skateboarders.

The turf project, happening at several area parks, is 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.

And now, to the Times (find the full article here):

“We don’t have anything against asphalt,” said Liam Kavanagh, the Parks Department’s first deputy commissioner. “There’s always going to be need for asphalt spaces in our system. But when you have a situation where you are balancing literally thousands of hours of permitted youth sports that don’t have a place to go, we have to prioritize youth sports.”

The Parks Department prioritizes the permitted sports, Mr. Kavanagh said, because of the amount of time groups like the Little League spend organizing and raising funds from the private sector for this “real New York City tradition.”

And...

The skateboarders said they cannot skate on artificial turf. Sidewalks and streets are legal to skate on, they added, but not necessarily safe for themselves or pedestrians.

Tompkins Square Park, which reopened in 1992 after large-scale renovations, appeals to the skateboarders because of its lack of ramps and handrails. Rookies can feel intimidated in skate areas with obstacles, they said. The park’s flat surface enables all users to learn from one another.

Last month, reps for the skateboarders met with the Parks Department. Both sides have reported that it was a productive meeting. The department has since said it has made no decision on when — or if — it would install the turf.

You can find the petition — titled "Save Tompkins Square asphalt!" — here. As of last evening, there were nearly 31,000 signatures.

EV resident Adam Zhu, 22, who started the petition told this to the Times: "There is something important about this specific spot, and that has to do with the history of the park at large and our personal history with the park — having grown up here, met all our friends here.

"I’m not fighting to make this a skate park,” he added. “It’s a multiuse park, and it functions very well as is."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Skateboarders upset over plan to add synthetic turf to the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park

Monday, July 8, 2019

Petition to 'Save Tompkins Square asphalt!' closing in on 19,000 signatures



The petition opposing the city's plan to cover the concrete courtyard (aka TF) with synthetic turf in Tompkins Square Park has received overwhelming support in just one week.

As of this morning, nearly 19,000 people had signed their name to "Save Tompkins Square asphalt!"

As we reported last Tuesday, the city has plans — apparently only known to residents who may have attended a Community Board committee meeting in May — to cover the multipurpose courts in the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park with synthetic turf, a move that surprised and upset a major user of that space since the 1980s — skateboarders.

"While this might look like some flat concrete to a lot of people, this place holds a really deep and sacred importance to thousands of skaters and young people who come together to use this park on a daily basis," East Village resident Adam Zhu, who started the petition, told NBC New York.

The turf project, happening at several area parks, is 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.

Turfing the asphalt will also displace other groups here in the corner at Avenue A and 10th Street, including the 400 members of the BlackTop Street Hockey League who use the space on Sunday afternoons.

There is word of a meeting set for early this week between reps for the skateboarders and the Parks Department.

--

The story has also been picked up by Patch ... the Post ... and Fox 5.

You can find the petition here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Skateboarders upset over plan to add synthetic turf to the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday's parting shots



A few skateboarding scenes on this spring day (Feb. 20) ... photos by Derek Berg...



Sunday, November 12, 2017

A haven for skateboarders in Tompkins Square Park


Photographer Danny Weiss and writer Theodore Barrow team up for a photo essay in The New York Times today on the teen skateboarders who hang out on the baseball fields (the T.F.) in Tompkins Square Park.

An excerpt:

A lot has changed over 15 years. Skateboarding, like the neighborhood, has grown up and acquired a marketable sheen. It is difficult not to see in these kids, who now dress like the ones in the movie “Kids,” my contemporaries in the mid-’90s.

Who knows how long the park will be a haven for them, or what they will become? Small, seemingly insubstantial butterfly-wing youthful decisions can have life-changing consequences. Who knows how long skaters will be allowed to hang out at the T.F., considering the skyrocketing property values of real estate in the East Village?

Find the photos and essay here.

A post shared by Theodore Barrow (@tedbarrow) on

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mourning The Crack™ in Tompkins Square Park


[Image via 2wavv]

Some local skateboarders are in mourning... after several attempts through the years, workers have finally filled in The Crack™ in the ballpark/skateboard area in the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park.

Our friends at Quartersnacks have the scoop:

The Crack™ is gone. It has been filled with an effective tarlike substance that renders the inch-wide cavity obsolete.


[Image via Quartersnacks]

Here's video footage from a few years back about how to navigate The Crack™ — "the Park’s longest standing obstacle."



Perhaps The Crack™ will be back again some day...

Friday, November 1, 2013

A skateboard shop for East 4th Street?



The rumor on East Fourth Street between Avenue C and Avenue D is that the long-defunct Brazilian tea shop will soon house a skateboard shop ... run by the tea shop owner's son.

H/T Steven Matthews