Photo by Pad Dowd
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.
Filmed by Johnny Wilson & Max Palmer. Alternate YouTube Link.
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.