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.)
Obstacle: Remnants of the Labor Box 1.0.
When: From December 2012 until maybe the first week of January.
Lifespan: This thing was unskateable by New Years Day 2013, see above.
Obstacle: The metal trashcan nipple
When: All year! Even two orange cones are tough to come by at the T.F. these days. This thing has replaced them.
Lifespan: Still there!
NOTE: Sometimes, this obstacle is modified to be *twice* as high!
Obstacle: The world famous two orange cones.
When: Off and on throughout the year.
Lifespan: Their presence is becoming more of a luxury these days, but they’re not completely gone from out lives yet :)
Obstacle: A corner bookcase found in the trash that was flipped upside down. No, this was not an intentional skate obstacle.
Lifespan: Skateboarders who live in New York love wallies, so this thing disintegrated until it was several flat pieces of wood over the course of two weeks.
Obstacle: A plastic bench that was recovered from 12th & A following the apocalypse.
Lifespan: It was already shaped like a banana from the side, therefore at least fifty-percent of the way to disintegration. The Parks Department might’ve thrown it out before it was unrecognizable though.
Obstacle: Possibly the worst T.F. box ever. It was high and short.
Lifespan: It sucked, so of course the Parks Department let it stick around for a bit.
Obstacle: The best T.F. box in years.
Lifespan: Two weeks. Parks Department said it was okay to leave it locked up on the fence, then later decided it wasn’t. Lock was clipped, and it was thrown out. Thx.
Obstacle: A round flatbar that was brought all the way from Canarsie. It was intended to live at the T.F. with the Inkwell box.
When: The spring.
Lifespan: Someone (likely with a B.A. in fine arts or photography) thought it was a bright idea to bring this to the middle of the Williamsburg Bridge when the Parks Department threatened to throw it out.
Obstacle: A piece of wood propped up by a brick.
Lifespan: However long it took for people to realize the brick was not adequate support.
Obstacle: A shoebox, shopping bag, and Slicky Boy’s cruiser board that was likely stolen from squatters who used it to prop up their panhandling sign.
When: A very slow summer day.
Lifespan: Thirty minutes.
Obstacle: Labor Box 2.0.
Lifespan: It was quickly moved to 12th & A when the Parks Department gave an end of the day ultimatum. It later disintegrated like the Labor Box 1.0.
Obstacle: A pizza box.
Lifespan: Five minutes. It was later eaten.
Obstacle: The Nike SB Project BA demo set-up.
When: An hour before it started raining.
Lifespan: Everything but the box disappeared into a vortex. The box was carried by seven people to 12th & A, where it enjoyed a much longer life than it could have at the T.F. The Green Diamond and its foreign affiliates famously declined to help bring the box to 12th Street.
Obstacle: The revenge of the flannel.
When: Originally, 2004-2007.
Lifespan: It came back to life for a half-hour this fall.
Obstacle: Eight-inch-high box with a wedge up to it.
Lifespan: Amazingly, a week and a half. The Parks Department only throws out the good boxes.
Obstacle: Narrow piece of plywood propped up on a plastic dolly.
Lifespan: An hour.
Previously: 2012 in T.F. Obstacles