Skate Spot Porn: Tempelhof Skate Plaza in Berlin


In a spring Monday Links post, we commended Berlin on recycling old materials in the creation of a sanctioned space for skateboarding, mostly at the expense of Philadelphia’s consistent idiocy. On the last day of a recent trip where skateboarding was hardly a priority (it was also 100+ degrees for most days), we had a chance to check out the Tempelhof Skate Plaza. With the opening of Paine’s Park, which incorporates the original City Hall benches, Philly took a step in the right direction after years of stubbornness, but the approach to each space is miles apart.

If you ask about spots in Berlin, a common notion is that “you have to know where everything is,” in the sense that you can’t skate around and find everything like you could in a city that has a “downtown.” This spot exemplifies that to an absurd degree. Though it is still technically within city limits, it sits on a defunct airfield-turned-public park that’s far removed enough to have once accommodated a commercial airport. Once you get off the train, and pass a hilarious excuse for a skatepark that some small American city would surely dream to pass off as sufficient after outlawing skateboarding, you enter a field with an asphalt track circling around it.


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America could learn a lot from the Germans. They took hunks of granite from an old government building and used them to produce an amazing skate spot on an obsolete airfield. Imagine if all that City Hall granite actually went towards making a skate plaza for the city of Philadelphia? How many city plazas get torn out and reduced to scrap each year in the U.S? The “solution” is so simple, but gets turned into such a stupid mess because of zoning / permits / $$$ / insurance / red tape.

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