Photo by Zach Baker
It is no secret that we spend an inordinate amount of time in caged in, flat spaces. And it is no secret — as much as we may try to glamorize it — that it gets old after a while. With open road season in the northeast coming to a close, we hit I-95 one last time this fall. Except rather than going to surefire crutches like Eggs or Pulaski, we aimed for something a little different, and a little less…flat. We loaded up the three or five people in the crew adequately versed in skating transition for an atypical QS journey. We went to concrete skateparks, and ended up leaving something permanent behind us in the end (more on that later.)
The concrete skatepark is a relatively new phenomenon in New York. Sure, Owl’s Head has been there for a decade-and-a-half, but the recent surge in parks popping up everywhere is only ~five years old. It also came after we spent much of the 2000s languishing in pre-fab purgatory. Even then, if you heard some of the stories from people tasked with negotiating the skaters’ side in building a park, you’d want to strangle yourself with the red tape. We have one of the three largest city economies in the world; the level of bureaucracy that comes with each one we’re fortunate enough to have is unparalleled. Hopefully, the stadium-lit volleyball courts out on Tribeca piers have an easier time getting built…
Filmed by Johnny Wilson & Max Palmer. Alternate YouTube link.
New England embraced outdoor and public concrete parks long before we did. That’s mostly due to two people: Sloppy Sam, who founded Breaking Ground Skateparks, and Jeff Paprocki, who now owns Paprocki Concrete & Masonry. Both of them navigated the laws and public works departments that vary between every New England town to create much of the vast network of parks that exists up there today. Once you stop by Frank Pepe’s in New Haven and make it into the eastern half of Connecticut, it’s possible to spend the day hitting three or four unique parks, all thanks to these dudes. They aren’t “D.I.Y.” creations in the grey understanding that we have of that phrase, but it’s obvious they wouldn’t exist without the saintly proactive efforts of a few individuals. “It’s all about knowing the right person to talk to.” And also having the right crew around you.