Wow, Philadelphia Did Something Smart!

May 22nd, 2013 | 3:02 pm | Spot Updates | 17 Comments

panorama1

panorama2

All photos are enlargeable

There had been rumblings about Paine’s Park for over ten years. Even back when Skate Nerd was legitimately one of the few skate sites online, they’d post meeting info in an effort to get the project started. But Love and City Hall were around in original form then, so a Philadelphia skatepark was an afterthought for most. From the outside looking in, it seemed like the city was always more concerned with furthering its hatred of skateboarding (it’s not like they had massive school failures, mayors with corruption ties, or, um, rising homicide rates to worry about), instead of cooperating on a solution that would benefit thousands of people. Apparently, all those meetings mentioned in ten-year-old SkateNerd.com posts were the start of a decade-plus road to Philly’s first legitimate street plaza park, which opens today.

Paine Park’s marquee feature ā€” and perhaps the first ever non-stupid thing pertaining to skateboarding that the city of Philadelphia has allowed to happen (remember the pre-fab “park” they built in Center City as a replacement for Love in 2002?) ā€” is the re-incorporation of the City Hall and Love Park benches in the design. Yes, they actually *saved* the benches after tearing down the plaza and let skaters use them in a sanctioned area. You could be the streetest, most skatepark-averse guy ever, but being able to skate the City Hall benches without constantly looking over your shoulder is pretty incredible. As of yesterday, they all need wax, so assume they’ll be broken in by the end of the weekend.

benches-2

bench-upclose

The rest of the park is covered with four to five-foot-high smooth brick quarterpipes. They are built like natural, street-style transitions you’d find in Europe or Birmingham, so there is no coping on any of the edges. There is a big three area likely meant to mimic the Love fountain at the front of the park, though with the City Hall benches several feet away, people will probably use this area more for sitting than skating. The one glaring omission from the park is that there isn’t a single flatbar.

Oddly, the ground isn’t perfect. It’s not the glossy cement that L.E.S. or Astoria has. It’s a smooth-enough cement, but feels like a distant cousin of kill-your-pop ground in some areas, so you’d think that they’d become more closely related as the winters wear on. Also, there are four-foot brick breaks throughout the park. They’re easy to ride over for now, but after a year or so of skateboard wheels slamming on them (check the bench in the middle of the pic below…the bricks are exactly where you land coming off frontside for regular), they might start getting a bit haggard.

benches

fountain

Paine’s Park is maybe two times the size of the L.E.S. park. Even those who avoid skateparks because of crowds could settle to a less-skated corner with several benches, and enjoy them while all the kids skate the quarter pipes and handrails. Locals have said that the lights are supposed to stay on all night, and based on the clip those Sabotage dudes put out of the park before opening, the lighting situation is solid.

It seems like the Franklin’s Paine people are over the hump with the city of Philadelphia being its old stubborn, moronic self. There are three other parks either being built or slated for construction throughout the city. Whether you like parks or not, it is a great look for a place that has hated skateboarders while being comfortable with taking their money for over a decade. With this next generation of kids, the term “skatepark kid” as a pejorative will cease to exist, because that’s what they’ll all be. Paine’s Park clips are going to become more of a daily Hella Clips tradition than Stoner Park clips are now. (Some have speculated that the opening of this park will coincide with yet another Love crackdown, but considering you can already only skate it after 10:30 P.M, maybe not.)

Great work from all those involved. Thank you.

The park is located at the intersection of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Martin Luther King Drive on the Schuykill river, just off Spring Garden Street, right next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

quarterpipes

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metal ledges

rails

17 Comments

Comment by Pops
  • looks tuff. finna hit this and pop off on a cheese steak ASAP.

    May 22, 2013 @ 3:27 pm
  • Comment by Tim
  • This park looks amazing! love skate plazas

    May 22, 2013 @ 5:07 pm
  • Comment by JL
  • Philly hates skateboarding. The city is probably going to dropoff truckloads of homeless people at the plaza so they can fuck on the benches and shit on the ledges. Make you feel like you’re right at love park.

    May 22, 2013 @ 6:09 pm
  • Comment by Dennis
  • what Time Do The Lights Go Out?

    May 22, 2013 @ 9:58 pm
  • Comment by JD
  • Philadelphia needed this for a long time. 5th Pocket Design is also building smaller concrete parks throughout the city. Its going to be an awesome place to shred in the next five years!

    May 22, 2013 @ 10:01 pm
  • Comment by Slippery Pete
  • After day one:

    Fights broke out.

    Bikes caused damage

    The Mayor was there.

    And Nik Stain killed it.

    May 23, 2013 @ 12:43 am
  • Comment by philosopher
  • Of course fights broke out, everyone is thirsty moving closer and closer to where you set up from and totally ruining the session.

    Or maybe they were drunk.

    May 23, 2013 @ 9:31 am
  • Comment by sharazzz
  • you were definitely drunk @pilosopher

    May 23, 2013 @ 11:59 am
  • Comment by philosopher
  • Agreed.

    May 23, 2013 @ 3:02 pm
  • Comment by f
  • bikers fuckin suck, been moochin off skaters for years, never build their own shit unless its a dirt ramp in the woods. theres so many amazing possibilities on a bike, gtfo of the skateparks and go do somethin good.

    May 23, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
  • Comment by Drew Kukura
  • Hey “f”, if BMXer’s have been mooching off skateboarders for years, who have street skaters been mooching off of? Last time I checked skateboarders didn’t go around building street spots. It is funny to see how quickly some people can go from being kicked out of spots to doing the kicking out themselves. Yeah, I know, Iā€™m on the wrong website.

    May 24, 2013 @ 2:00 am
  • Comment by Hamsung Dong
  • @drew kookura

    Ricky Oyola built his own street spots, in Philly

    May 24, 2013 @ 3:24 am
  • Comment by bringus
  • @Drew Kukura

    I see you know absolutely nothing, considering most boarders build spots. Ever heard of DIY spots? Yes, yes you are on the wrong site.

    May 24, 2013 @ 7:22 pm
  • Comment by Drew Kukura
  • To me DIY spots have never been street. If it was built to be ridden upon by skateboarders or BMXers, it is not street.

    May 25, 2013 @ 2:23 am
  • Comment by derek is a dingus
  • @Derek
    It’s still considered street. Quit crying.

    May 28, 2013 @ 3:06 am
  • Comment by yungthug1017
  • snack u was at delancey and Bowery sipping on a beverage?

    May 29, 2013 @ 7:09 pm
  • Comment by blader
  • ey fuck off fuckboi

    February 16, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
  • Leave a comment