Wow, Philadelphia Did Something Smart!

panorama1

panorama2

All photos are enlargeable

There had been rumblings about Paine’s Park for over ten years. Even back when Skate Nerd was legitimately one of the few skate sites online, they’d post meeting info in an effort to get the project started. But Love and City Hall were around in original form then, so a Philadelphia skatepark was an afterthought for most. From the outside looking in, it seemed like the city was always more concerned with furthering its hatred of skateboarding (it’s not like they had massive school failures, mayors with corruption ties, or, um, rising homicide rates to worry about), instead of cooperating on a solution that would benefit thousands of people. Apparently, all those meetings mentioned in ten-year-old SkateNerd.com posts were the start of a decade-plus road to Philly’s first legitimate street plaza park, which opens today.

Paine Park’s marquee feature — and perhaps the first ever non-stupid thing pertaining to skateboarding that the city of Philadelphia has allowed to happen (remember the pre-fab “park” they built in Center City as a replacement for Love in 2002?) — is the re-incorporation of the City Hall and Love Park benches in the design. Yes, they actually *saved* the benches after tearing down the plaza and let skaters use them in a sanctioned area. You could be the streetest, most skatepark-averse guy ever, but being able to skate the City Hall benches without constantly looking over your shoulder is pretty incredible. As of yesterday, they all need wax, so assume they’ll be broken in by the end of the weekend.

Keep Reading »