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.

Have you heard about this hip, popular new sport called volleyball?

“This isn’t a skatepark, you need to leave.”
“Well the skatepark is closed and doesn’t have lights on after dark.”
“You still need to go.”
“Why does the volleyball court have lights and stay open after dark, but the skatepark doesn’t?”
“I don’t know, you should ask Hudson River Park Trust that, but now you need to leave.”

Did you know that volleyball is the fastest growing sport in New York? Demand for volleyball continues to rise, and the city responds by building manmade plots of sand on the waterfront, decking them out with gigantic spotlights that stay on until midnight, so volleyball players could enjoy seven hours of playing time after work.

And it also makes perfect sense that the nearby skatepark they built — the one that Hudson River Park Security loves to point in the direction of when kicking you out of here, here, here, here, or here — doesn’t have lights, and its gate is locked as soon as it gets dark. Seriously, how many people skateboard in New York, like thirty-five, MAYBE forty? That’s opposed to at least 2.5 million volleyball players. Why would the city waste precious electricity in the midst of a budget deficit for the thirty-five remaining skateboarders in New York, when there are millions of volleyball players that need it so much more? Plus, everyone knows that skateboarders aren’t responsible enough to exist in a place designated for skateboarding after dark, given that they are all drug-dealing rapists.

So next time you’re skating Three Up Three Down or Battery Park after 7 P.M. and a Parks employee reminds you that your spot of choice “isn’t a skatepark” (the skatepark being the sole athletic facility besides the children’s playground without lights on after dark on the entire downtown waterfront), remember that America is a democracy, and the volleyball players, given their massive numbers, earned those lightbulbs. Focus your board, put on some suntan lotion (for the spotlights), and go for a few pick-up games of volleyball.