The final installment of Pop Up Spots pays tribute to highbrow garbage. The first was a celebration of the mundane becoming sublime; this one turns the sublime into the ~avant garde~. Things like the high-con 12th & A rainbow from earlier this spring came via a crossroad of our natural draw towards playing with trash (a bit of ourselves in everything we do, yaknow?) and the old axiom where skaters *believe* that we’re like, different n stuff. I mean, look at the most popular spot in the city right now.
The goal is to have a sesh with all this stuff at a central location soon. And don’t worry, environment-weary commenters, we’ll clean up after ourselves this time :) Stay tuned. Huge thanks to Levi’s Skateboarding for their support throughout this project.
Oddly enough, the idea of this one also came by way of another sorta bad Syracuse spot. Except rather than a cement rainbow inched away from a brick wall, it was reinterpreted on the “Oh I been there once while so-and-so tried to wallride the fence” Tiffany / Huf Banks. The spot already underwent some low-key Jerry Duty via a ledge-to-bank years before, so it was rife for what could best be described as a rainbowy Venice curb propped over on a 45-degree angle midbank.
We love garbage. Having spent the better half of the last decade lugging trash to Tompkins, coverage of every trick to go down on it has been the lifeblood of this aimless skateboard media institution. But of course, the street debris that gets left at T.F. is fleeting. We’re lucky if it sticks around for 24 hours. We know at least 85 unemployed industrial design graduates looking for something to do on rainy days — why not create something more substantial, more permanent, and more concrete?
When celebrating the virtues of skate-friendly cities like Copenhagen, it’s important to remember that they didn’t become that way by accident. A place like Denmark may not have the vehement sue-happy culture we do, but there’s still a long process to build a utopia. People with college degrees and sophisticated understandings of architecture, city planning, etc. — who also happen to skateboard — fought for that shit. Many cities are slowly starting to recognize skateboarding as something more productive than spraypainting on a wall or pissing in a corner. Now the next step is figuring the subtleties out. “Maybe a blind-built pre-fab park isn’t the best idea…”
When presented with a chance to do something permanent with the locals in Providence, it didn’t make sense for it to be an exclusive keyholder type of project. It also didn’t make sense to add on to an existing skatepark; they have a whole community already doing a good job at keeping that flame lit.
Filmed by Dan Mcgrath and Johnny Wilson.
Adrian Hall Park, across the street from the Trinity Repertory Theater in downtown Providence, has been a stop for skaters since the early nineties. It has a platform to do tricks off, some steps, and a curb — not a great spot, but enough to keep interest when you get the boot out of everywhere else downtown and are willing to settle on skating anything, insofar as you don’t get hassled. Beyond the skaters, there usually isn’t a whole lot going on in the park. It’s not scenic, as it’s on a side street next to a parking garage: a perfect place to drink a brown-bagged beer or take a nap on some cardboard if you don’t have anywhere to be that night. It was also a solid candidate to be turned into something more than just a barren stone park.
One of the byproducts of New England’s tightly-knit park scene is that it created a generation of locals who are resourceful and good with their hands. There’s not always a park being built, but if you look hard enough, there’s always an opportunity for a one-off in a forgotten crevice of the city. These will range from the equivalent of what we know in New York as works of “Jerry Duty,” to micro spots that stuff one-tenth of a skatepark into a cleared out corner behind an industrial zone.
A lot of these spots aren’t under some main bridge, or in a well-traversed warehouse district, e.g. how the B.Q.E. spot is a fully public D.I.Y. creation. Maybe a guy knows a guy who knows a guy, and he’ll give skaters free reign over a hidden patch of land to the side of his building before he figures out just what the hell he’s going to do with it. The results become a bowl corner next to a factory’s crumbling smokestack, or a wavy spine concoction built over an out-of-commission gas pipe that even National Grid doesn’t know the deal with. Barring a few anomalies, the northeast isn’t equipped for long lasting full-fledged D.I.Y. skateparks like more spacious parts of the country are. People have been living on top of each other for hundreds of years here; spots like these are left to make do with the leftover crumbs of the city.
The most insane example involved a thirty-minute drive from downtown Providence, until you pull up to a dilapidated building in a neighborhood that has nothing but liquor stores. If you’ve seen that movie Prisoners, it’s basically like that building where Hugh Jackman takes the guy to torture him.