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.