Update — July 1, 2019 — 6 P.M: The Parks Department reached out to the skate community and will hold a meeting about the matter early next week. Will add any new info once we get it. Please keep your #savetompkins posts respectful so our cause gets given the same respect.
The city approved a plan to cover the asphalt at Tompkins Square Park A.K.A. The T.F. with synthetic turf. On the Parks Department’s “Projects” page for Tompkins, the only mention of anything in this vein is a proposed project labeled “Multipurpose Play Area Pavement Reconstruction.” The community that spends much of their days in this portion of the park was not consulted, and only found out that it had been approved a month after the fact, with Tompkins’ resurfacing crammed in with other sites where they intend to do the same.
A multi-use, open asphalt area in the East Village is scarce. If the city goes ahead with this approved plan, it would alienate many of the end users of the park, who have called it a home for decades, and built a community around this small patch of sacred asphalt.
Skateboarding has been a part of Tompkins Square Park since the 1980s, when Shut Skateboards would lug over makeshift ramps and throw contests there. Skaters continued to call Tompkins a home ever since. In the years after 9/11, when much of the city was under lockdown and the places we skated in before became closed off for security measures, Tompkins became a hassle-free refuge for the skate community thanks to the nearby ABC and Autumn Skateshops, who would bring ramps to the park, and store them in their stores overnight. We have quite literally shoveled snow out of the way to skate here before.
This isn’t only about skateboarding. A roller hockey league calls Tompkins home on weekends. If you’re trying to teach your son or daughter to ride a bike or any roller sport, you take them to an open asphalt field like this one. And while skateparks have become more abundant in New York City, if someone is learning how to skate, they are definitely not going to a high velocity atmosphere like a skatepark to learn how to ride.
Tompkins is an unshakeable part of our community. Much of the details about the resurfacing remain foggy. Many people have reached out asking how to help convince the city that a synthetic turf field here is a giant mistake. Several different threads are being tugged on with regards to how we should proceed on this issue, but in the meantime, we ask that you sign the petition that was started so Parks can get a sense of just how much this place means to us.
We will keep you updated on any and all developments as soon as we hear them.