Photo via Lurker Lou
Part two of our annual countdown series. Part one is here.
20. Marble at the T.F.
Throughout its history, Tompkins obstacles have been wood, steel, rubber, and sometimes even glass. The ability to move these materials without much manpower has been essential to the spot’s transient nature. Only the flat and
The Crack™ remain — everything else is just passing through until some green-suited bandit musters up the nerve to remove it.
T.F. culture experienced a shock this summer when a foot-tall, slanted slab of marble mysteriously appeared inside the baseball diamond. It became the first marble obstacle in Tompkins history, and dubbed The Tombstone™. This two-foot-wide piece of rock broke the record once held by the blue rail for the longest-standing loose object of the post-Autumn era. Claims of liquid-nailing it to the ground were abound in May and June, except that was, like, way too much work for anyone to do. The spot was gone as mysteriously as it appeared by the end of the month.
Gothamist is reporting that San Loco on Avenue A has shut its doors…
Everyone knows that San Loco was really just a step above Taco Bell, and that its contributions to drunk-at-3-A.M. culture surpassed its impact in skateboarding. However, it was a member of the Tompkins Day One pantheon. Even an institution like Mamani’s (which we now cannot imagine life without) hasn’t been there that long.
San Loco was the misleading springboard by which every California transplant judged New York’s Mexican food — even though it was the equivalent of judging the state of pizza in L.A. based on the nearest California Pizza Kitchen. It offered low cost margaritas for the T.F’s legions of summertime drunks who were too ashamed to be seen walking into Doc Holiday’s. “Oh, you’re going for a taco? Sure…” And above all, San Loco rode in solidarity with the hoards of freshmen that would arrive at Tompkins each September. Though they might’ve been shunned by locals for disregarding the the park’s unwritten rules, San Loco welcomed them with open arms via its $3 for two tacos and a drink with a student ID special. At least someone was in their corner.
Thank you San Loco. We hope you’re up there with Autumn reminiscing about the good old days. And consider the past two editions of Tompkins guides obsolete. Pour a margarita out on the curb.
Ain’t worried about nothing, ridin’ through East 9th Street…
The T.F. solidified its legacy long ago. However, that does not mean it will maintain the same level of #relevance that it has enjoyed for the past decade-plus. Much like the social climate of the early 2000s forced the Brooklyn Banks to cede its status as the city’s prime skate spot to the T.F., that very same moment has been dawning on Tompkins for some time. Skateparks run New York; cramped spaces with ramps-to-rails have surpassed the value of flatground.
But is Tompkins ready to fade into the sunset? Definitely not. You can count of the first warm day of 2014 being a magical time. You can count on street debris being lugged here and contorted into borderline skateable obstacles for years to come. And you can sure count on plenty of East Village kids who have never been south of Rivington Street or north of Stuy-Town refusing to acknowledge that skateparks exist.
Here are the key developments that occurred at Tompkins Square Park in 2013, as told through the #tfreport tag on the ‘Gram. Apologies to anyone whose Instagram photo was stolen for this post (but not really…once you contribute to the #tfreport think tank, your image becomes public property.)
Photo by Emilio Cuilan
In 2011, as an effort to assist freshmen new to New York, we published an introductory guide to Tompkins Square Park, the most popular “street” spot in the city and frequent victim of misinformation. Much like the textbooks you guys pay $900 a semester for, the 2011 text is in need of a new edition. New York skateboarding has changed these past two years, affecting the T.F. and forcing it to adapt to a new environment. We didn’t just scramble the pagination to squeeze an extra hundred bucks from you. No, unlike the textbook industry, we’re really trying to help.
According to recent reports, America is starting to understand the futility of a college degree. Sure, maybe ten-percent of degrees end up being useful, but given that skateboarders major in things that they could learn from YouTube tutorials, theirs often belong in the trash. If you’re a college attendee, there is a good chance that you will still be considering unpaid internships at 24 with a five-figure debt reminder in your mailbox each month. There’s no reason to make things worse by spending your college years as an outcast from the T.F. Make it easy by following these simple rules, and Tompkins will bless you with an education that no money could buy.
Opting against the traditional skatepark route, Nike SB will utilize the greatest non-spot in skateboard history for its Brian Anderson shoe launch event on Thursday. Not since the enterprising days of the early-2000s has an actual skate company chose our beloved T.F. as the site of a major skate event (shout out to Leo Gutman #2003gameofskate.) There will be boxes, rails, a launch or two, and perhaps even a quarterpipe, an obstacle completely unfamiliar to Tompkins Square Park patrons in the modern T.F. era. Please note that this marks the first time more than two non-trash can obstacles will simultaneously occupy space at Tompkins since its heyday, so the significance of this event cannot be overstated.
Anyway, come celebrate the launch of the new Project B.A. shoe with Brian Anderson, Unlocking the Truth, and friends (and probably the Dunions) at Tompkins Square Park this Thursday, August 22nd, from 12 P.M. to 4 P.M. Food and refreshments will be provided for all those who cannot otherwise afford them.