If you haven’t been skating for too long, you’d be forgiven if you thought that cities ceding spaces containing D.I.Y. spots over to skaters was a longtime phenomenon. Sure, there are famous precedents (Burnside, et al.), but even in New Jersey, the location of today’s subject, the reality has often gone the other way. Newark’s Shorty’s D.I.Y. and Fred Gall’s Jody’s Spot were both recently torn down in favor of nothing.
Two weekends ago, Montclair, New Jersey had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Rand Park B.K.A. Candy Courts, for the unveiling of eight skateable sculptures designed by known goat, Alexis Sablone. The former tennis courts were a suburban, Tompkins-like spot that people would bring boxes, flatbars and ramps to — there is even a lil’ graveyard off to the side of mini Element flatbars and plastic ramps you get at sporting goods stores. The courts got increasingly popular over the COVID years, and caught the eye of The Skatepark Project, the non-profit you likely know as The Tony Hawk Foundation (the old name.) They flowed the park $25k and Skate Essex, another nonprofit that advocates for skateboarding in North Jersey, provided additional fundraising dollars.