R.I.P. 12th & A (For real this time)


Funny, we were talking about Billy Rohan’s NY1 “New Yorker of the Week” segment and how it saved 12th & A in 2009 just last night…

12th & A has died, and come back, and died again, and come back again, and been shut down because the wall of the building was literally falling apart — but as of this morning, 12th & A is officially gone. Construction crews with sledgehammers were tearing the DQM demo box and the remaining two ledge slabs that were installed in 2008 to pieces. They’ll probably leave the picnic table and stupid plastic bench (nevermind, it’s at T.F. already), but the spot is done for.

It’s incredible that the school / Billy came up with this “wacky” idea involving four marble slabs and some wood (A.K.A. 1/1,000,000th the cost of a skatepark?), and it kept hundreds of kids confined to one playground for entire days. Schools are about “the kids,” right? Or are they about appealing to a few token angry neighbors who move across the street from a school in a major city, and then complain about the noise from fifteen-year-olds that always ceases after dark? Because it’s easy to imagine those people finally “winning” in all of this. Big thanks to Billy and all the people who fought to keep this place open longer than anyone previously expected.



Allergic To Stupid Shit: Déjà Vu Edition

Didn’t this happen already? Yeah, it did.

We have another capped ledge in the never-ending saga of the architecture world’s greatest unintentional skatepark. It’s the one closest to the dog park, and the only one that remains lit after 1 A.M., when they cut off all the other lights. They knobbed one ledge last year, only to give up, and build a few new ledges sans knobs. This either means the beginning of the end (like we wrongly assumed last time), or that they are going at a one-ledge-per-half-year rate of knobbing this place. Considering there are about eighty ledges here, it should be fully capped by 2052, which is totally fine.

Either way, it has been nice having a go-to downtown ledge spot two summers in a row, even if it comes with a sporadic bust factor. It feels just like the good old days of Newport, Bench–Down-Curb, and Red Benches.

Hey New York, even though you have an aversion to logical ideas pertaining to skateboarding, and prefer pouring millions of dollars into skateparks that close once it becomes dark, here’s an idea of how to get people to stop skating here. Take the three-block lot on South Street under the FDR between Catherine and Pike that you just paved, and are literally doing nothing with, and build eight, hell, even four of these ledges there. You don’t even need to hire a skatepark company to pour the concrete. Nobody will skate here anymore. And you won’t even need to buy knobs (which are surprisingly expensive.)

Allergic to Stupid Shit: Special Deluxe Holiday Edition

Around every April Fool’s Day, we have an idea to do a fake post about how Tompkins, 12th & A, the Tribeca park, etc. got knobbed. Ultimately, we get too lazy to procure fake photographs for such a post, but the real world may have just provided the closest thing to a knobbed skatepark you’ll ever see.

They have began knobbing the new Seaport ledges. Yes, the perfect concrete boxes with metal lips that are only otherwise seen in skateparks, and…well, nowhere else. The ledges at the northern end are the only ones knobbed as of today, but it would be safe to assume that they’ll make it to the rest of the plaza sooner rather than later. So much for waiting for construction to finish before they allow skateboarding there (not that anyone believed such lies to begin with.) Now would be a good time to do what Gino did, and get any remaining sessions/lines in before the spot is completely gone. And yes, you still get kicked out.

We have filed a handful of things under our “allergic to stupid shit” filter over the years, but this one probably takes the cake.

2011 was sick. New York’s best new ledge spot got knobbed in six months, the best spot in Midtown is unskateable, and the best psuedo-skate-spot-park is a wrap thanks to a bunch of dickheads who can’t walk two blocks to smoke weed somewhere that isn’t school property.

Occupy Seaport

“Skipping occupy Wall St. and looking to start an occupy that new park by Seaport movement.” — Roctakon

By now, the period for high hopes is long gone, and there appears to be no chance of the lies you were told throughout the summer becoming truths. Taji’s mom didn’t design it, Rob Campbell didn’t build it, California Skateparks didn’t pour the concrete, and Mayor Bloomberg isn’t going to let you skate it after he does a 9/11 ceremony there, considering there was no 9/11 ceremony here to begin with. There’s going to be a restaurant on the north side, and a dog park on the south, so the new security guard favorite, “We’ll talk to the park and see if they can open an area designated for skateboarding” isn’t going to come true either. (Evidently, security guards are the ones who dictate the allocation of public space.)

Though Occupy Wall Street’s objective(s) may be all over the place, its “99% against the greedy 1%” mantra aptly falls under the “allergic to stupid shit” umbrella. Whether they aim to combat stupid shit with more stupid shit remains to be seen. This skateboarding site does not care to dwell on the movement’s convoluted political goals, but it does applaud them for sitting in at a skate spot for multiple weeks and trying to make a point, as their headquarters are at Zuccotti Park, or what skateboarders simply call “World Trade Center.”

With Seaport, our goals have more to do with the structure of the spot, and the greed of the dog walkers and lunchtime office workers taking a much larger piece of the pie than they deserve. Preventing skateboarding in a place designed for it falls in line with “allergic to stupid shit” principles, and we will need to adjust our percentages to reflect lunch-hour crowds and dog walkers v.s. skateboarders to qualify the inequities plaguing this spot. A Wall Street Journal columnist described Occupy Wall Street as “a Tea Party with brains.” Occupy Seaport will be an angry-kid-throwing-a-tantrum-cursing-at-security-and-refusing-to-leave with brains.

There are two security guards here, and an entire downtown police force busy with protesters. It’s time we take back the Seaport, and see this movement spread to other spots, and eventually, other cities. Occupation is set to begin after Roctakon’s birthday party on Friday.

See you on Saturday.

P.S. Do you think those fully lit volleyball courts in Tribeca are still PACKED now that the weather in New York is consistently below sixty degrees?

P.P.S. If not the Seaport, this plaza in Cologne, Germany is basically what we need…not parks full of ramps up to ledges and a fifteen-skater capacity. Ledges, banks, flat, that’s it. But then again, the Germans were always ahead of the game with engineering.

‘It may look like a skatepark, but you can’t skate here’

If you live in/around New York, or visited here in the past two months, you have inevitably tried to skate the new Seaport spot at least a dozen times. What brand of logic decides to build something covered in one obstacle completely inherent to skateparks (ledges with flush metal lips that only appear on the exterior of the planter, not the part facing the dirt), only to prohibit the activity that it is best-suited for (even indirectly), is beyond anyone’s wild guess. The most useful recent analogy has equated the existence of this spot to building a basketball court in the middle of downtown Manhattan, and placing security there to kick people out whenever they show up to play ball.

The guards at this specific spot have also had the audacity to suggest that we go to “that park under the Manhattan Bridge.” Even with the imperfect ground, this park is better than any skatepark in New York, except maybe Astoria.

In light of the inane rules that govern this place, and the elaborate narratives as to why you cannot skate a place covered in architecture that otherwise exists for the sole purpose of skateboarding, here is a comprehensive list of excuses the people in charge of security here have used (i.e. people whose entire employment derives from kicking out skateboarders.) Please feel free to add any lies that you have been told to emphasize how stupid they look.

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