Nicetown Skate Path

Got word today that our proposed plan to incorporate skateboarding into a currently unused (and rather large) parcel of land under Roosevelt Blvd. (Rt. 1) in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia was approved as part of a larger master plan! It was presented as part of a 2010 redevelopment plan and approved by the Philadelphia Planning Commission. I proposed an initial phase of greening the entire space (not part of our scope) and putting in a super smooth concrete skate path with some benches to draw use to the space. A parallel recycled pedestrian walkway and expansion of the existing community garden (again not our scope) could also be incorporated using partnerships with local organizations invested in each use. After the path is established, it would serve as a backbone for future development, such as skateable sculptures branching off the path or a larger skate plaza in one of the parabolas. Stoked!

39 thoughts on “Nicetown Skate Path

  1. this area is shit n wild sketchy, worried for the lil skate kids in that area… hope the community can step up and provide some safety for that park

  2. yes, this is rad… but still pathetic that city legislatures give nothing more than an abandoned scrap of land strewn with pollution form the highway above. i am not playing devils advocate, at least they are giving something?

  3. Nicetown is a terrible neighborhood, One of the highest ranking in terms of violent crime in Philly. I have lived in this city all my life and avoid that area like the plague, and wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing kids were skating there. Sounds like we are getting the shit end of the stick in terms of land

  4. That area is so fucked. “Nicetown” is such false advertising.

    That particular spot is a dead zone which I’d call a plus until someone figures out it’s a great place to jack skaters with no witnesses.

  5. oh what are you bellyaching about? you know that here in phoenix you pretty much have to beg to get a decent spot?

  6. Thanks for all the positive comments! The meeting this plan was approved in was just yesterday so this project is just beginning. Next steps will be to develop a decent estimate and some construction details so we can start raising funds. If anyone wants to help out, please contact Claire at the office. I am in Panama for work now but will hold a meeting when I get back for anyone interested. FPSF will keep the project moving forward, raise money and eventually get with a builder who has skateboarding expertise (Jesse Clayton? Lancaster Nelson?). There is almost no dumping here (which you would expect at such a seemingly abandoned site) because all the houses bordering the site keep a close eye on it. The neighborhood has been trying to do something positive with this block for a long time now and it seems like they will continue to keep their eyes on it. Also, Wayne Junction train station is 1.5 blocks away so access shouldn’t be too difficult. We have made a few site visits during the day with no incidents (personally I wouldn’t hang around there at night right now). In my eyes the fact that this could be seen as a rough neighborhood is even more of a reason to give the kids who live there something positive to do.

  7. We can’t only think about ourselves. we are all grown men with street smarts (well at least some of us) but the spots we build bring a huge crowd of kids

    we threw an event at whitehall in which guns were pulled around 300 young kids and i really scared the shit out of me. I dont ever want to look back at these situations and know it could have been avoided

    It’s really sick Nick is making this project happen but it seems as if the city is trying to pawn off the bottom of the barrel in terms of land knowing we will take whatever we can get.

  8. ask yourself…what did skateboarding ever do for the City, and why do WE deserve to be given anything?

    A Sense of Entitlement is for socialists and welfare recipients…DIY

    lets stop for a second and understand that we dont deserve shit from anyone, it makes it that much easier to be appreciative.

    Nicetown is no different than any other hood. 10 years ago the hipster enclave of Northern Libs that now has $1M + houses and a SKATE SHOP was a fucking 10 x 10 block crack den…that i was scared to skate thru while headed to my friends..

    just sayin…

  9. Now I just have to say two things…One negative and one positive.

    So here it goes….

    1. Negative…Nicetown. My lord. Just when I thought you couldn’t put a skatespot in a neighborhood WORSE than Whitehall area…they went and outdid themselves. They definitely weren’t thinking about anyone’s safety. Leave your wallets & cell phones at home.

    2. Positive..Skateboarders. We breathe life & light into the most darkest of areas. Look at whitehall. Yeah, it’s had it’s bad moments, alot of them, but we have had some really awesome things go down there as well. Alot of kids in that area would have never had touched a board if it weren’t for that place.

    Remember bridge spot? THat place was pretty cool for a bit.All it was was a bum hangout, and we made it a fun place. (Not when Kerry built shit, but back when they had the dope cement ledges near the Wawa part…Thanks anyway Kerry, but that plastic wood shit sucked) But so many people felt safer walking thru there when we skated there.

    We know how to be that light. So if the city is gonna put a spot out there for us…Let’s make the most of it. We can do it. Let’s show everyone that you give us nothing much and we can turn it into something great.

    If we get one neighborhood kid from that area off the corner and on the board…we may have actually changed someone’s life for the better…

    Think about that shit.

  10. Brad I am not even going to stoop to the low of using the “g” word in this conversation but some neighborhood transitions do not happen over night, and we are not talking about the kind of NIMBY attitude you see at community meetings when elderly ladies bitch about noise complaints we are talking about real deal neighborhood trouble.

    I built the first phase of whitehall long before anyone knew that place exist
    and In the past 8 years I watched a kid get shot and killed, race riots in which innocent skateboarders were carted off in ambulances after being beaten with 2×4’s, endless amounts of stick ups at gunpoint, and not to mention being shot at for no fucking reason besides someone not wanting us there. Are we not going to learn from are mistakes? (Or progress? ie POPS)

    I have done as much as I can to support ideas like this but I know that area to well and its not ready. Maybe I am a socialist for feeling “entitled” to anything more then a shitty piece of land and endless headaches. But no ego or deadline is worth the risk.

    Thumbs up on the project
    Thumbs up on the design
    Thumbs up on the attitude
    But fuck nicetown and the trouble it WILL bring.

  11. Honestly, everyone here has something valid to say. But, im down for some change, ill build anywhere the city allows. From the most hood to pristine green i really dont care.

  12. A little self esteem will go a long way. Act like you are entitled. Treat it like a basketball court or baseball diamond. DIY is fine if you are an able builder or are cool enough to have a key to the elite indoor facilities…

  13. Eric you somehow just crushed all haveboard records by making a comment COMPLETELY comprised of nothing but bullshit statements.

    1.A little self esteem will go a long way. Act like you are entitled. Treat it like a basketball court or baseball diamond.

    -This isn’t the first day of your freshmen year marching band tryouts sweetheart. The reality is certain areas of this city self-esteem will get you robbed, beat the fuck up, or much worse. It’s not your neighborhood so stay the fuck out.

    2.DIY is fine if you are an able builder

    – So your a skateboarder but somehow so physically inept you can’t help shoveling rock? carrying a couple bags of concrete? or even organizing a successful fundraiser?

    3.or are cool enough to have a key to the elite indoor facilities

    -Your absolutely right man. A couple guys used a ridiculous amounts of “cool points” to pay for the supplies to build the private parks in philly, and every month the key holders pay the massive rent and overhead in… YOU GUESSED IT “COOL POINTS”!

    Private parks exist because guys get together and decide they want to DO something! Someone puts their ass on the line and signs a lease, gets insurance, keyholders pay rent, and everyone chips in and maintains the place. Your never going to be able to watch and learn the “secret handshake” when your head is so far up your ass

  14. Brah, comin’at my neck brah. Missed whole point of self esteem comment. Act like what you do means something. Not puff your chest out in a bad neighborghood but that baseball basketball and skateboarding are equal.

  15. I think it’s funny sometimes when I read this shit. I really do. Everyone has a valid point, but goddamn…it is what it is….a sketchball part of the city where they are gonna give us land they just don’t want.

    When they say the term “beaten path”…they aren’t kidding. Whitehall is gonna seem just that much safer.

  16. Im not building a vert ramp in nicetown, that would be a surefire way to get shot at. I worked for a mason that worked with concrete for forty years and like he always said “sometimes you gotta make chicken soup outta chicken shit”. basically do the best with what your given. When you do a good job you can ask for something better. I, like alot of you fools trolled some REALLY trife areas of philly lookin for that hidden jem of a spot as a kid and even now as a follish adult. The kids these days are still doing it. The difference here is that we are building in a trife area which will bring in alot of outsiders. No one can predict for sure how good or how bad it could turn out. So until the city wants to fork over some better locations im gonna make the best of it. chicken shit soup is better than no soup at all.

  17. I hope to provide some resources on our website soon as to how the process of getting a free, public, place to skate works, at least in Philadelphia, based on our experience over the last nine years. Some of the comments seem to suggest that the City is sitting around going “Hmmm, what land should we give all these skateboarders that are whining about no where to go? How about the worst possible one we can think of?” The reality is that no one in the City is going to give out land to anyone unless they ask for it, fight for it, and give the City a reason why they should shoulder the risk and liability that comes along with a space that incorporates skateboarding or any kind of recreation. Doing this costs the City both time and money, which as most people can relate to, runs the world as we know it.

    With regard to this parcel of land in Nicetown – it is the concerned citizens living in that neighborhood who wanted to do something better with the abandoned land in question, not the City. For years now it is THEY who have been petitioning with the City to even LET them do something positive with that land and it is THEY who wanted skateboarding to be a part of that renovation. To me this is a huge success and proof that the need exists within that community. This is how we were pulled into the project and how skateboarding even began to be considered to be incorporated into this area. Let’s face it, even though we all feel the City should be coming to us asking where we want to develop a spot because of all the awesomeness we all inherently understand about skateboarding (and that it should be treated the same as a baseball diamond or basketball court), this won’t be happening anytime soon. There is no such thing as a free lunch and the fact that skateboarding has been invited into this redevelopment is an opportunity FPSF was more than happy to seize. If that means each of you that thinks it is a bad idea will never go there and skate, that is fine. Everything is relative. For the kids growing up in that neighborhood, this outlet will be more than worth the effort we put into it. Help if you want, hate if you want, but just remember what it would be like for you as a kid if this was in your neighborhood – whether it was considered a good neighborhood or a bad one from an outsider’s perspective – it is still skateboarding, which is, and always will be, awesome.

  18. Norso….his title should be..”Philadelphia Skateboarding’s Political Punching Bag/Doormat”….you got a tuff job dog. I’m not campaigning a pity party for you…just stating a fact.

    It’s crazy when you think about just what we’re fighting for. It’s a piece of wood with some stupid skates on it. How can something so small, effect so many people this way?

    In the grande scheme of things, we are all looking for the same thing. That perfect bowl, perfect manny, perfect ledge, perfect ground. We always want more…and more. It’s never enough.

    Some of these projects to us…Us, I mean people who have been in the game 8-10+ years, are bullshit. But in all actuality, I think it’s because we’ve gotten lost in our own perception of what the best thing is. Again, everything I’m saying….I am totally including myself.

    And with that, I think we forget the feeling of what it was like to have that first crack at something cool to skate. Cool meaning better than that shitty parking block behind the supermarket. These little projects, are hopefully gonna give kids that chance. The new comers. People that have never truly had that experience…Kids are having fun. Whitehall, I used to go there ALL the time..I rarely go now because it’s shit..But aside from the lurkers…these kids have a blast there. They make the most of just HAVING a place. No matter how dicy the locale.

    It’s weird, but when I see the way some of these new kids look at skating (some of these kids, def not all), they are just having FUN. Being new at it, everything I did, was just flat out fun. I knew nothing about sponsors, or stupid politics. I just knew that what I had in front of me…was the best thing ever. So I think it would be cool to see kids doing that in the most non-expecting of neighborhoods. You never know…the next Stevie may be coming out of there.

    I don’t know where I was really going with this. I’m sure I am gonna catch holy hell for this long comment…But for a second, let’s not be bitter old men. Let’s think about when we were kids. And how fun it was to skate our first park, plaza , whatever. It was awesome. Even tho for alot of us, it was a really long time ago.

  19. I still get that giddy feeling skating something I built, whether it’s permanent or made to last ten minutes. Let’s keep scoping out tiny little run-down pockets around the city. Philly’s a grid with plenty of burnt-out pixels. I think if we go at it this way, the City will see skateboarding as a contribution to the community.

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