New York City

After Learning NYC's Plans to Turf a Historical Skate Spot, East Village Skaters Fight Back

What to Know

  • The concrete courtyard in Tompkins Square Park has been a favorite New York City skate spot for three decades
  • In 2020, the Parks Department plans to put cover it with artificial turf
  • Meanwhile, local skateboarders are hoping to fight the change, and have already gathered nearly 15,000 signatures opposing the idea

While the East River Park is under construction to improve flood risks, The New York City Parks Department plans to create more green spaces across the city. One of these “Asphalt to Turf” locations is a square of concrete pavement in Tompkins Square Park.

On any given day, this slab of stone is populated by skateboarders. The area of the park has been a skate spot for over three decades, providing the city’s youth with a space many call home.

“While this might look like some flat concrete to a lot of people, this place holds a really deep and sacred importance to thousands of skaters and young people who come together to use this park on a daily basis” says Adam Zhu, a skateboarder and East Village local. After hearing about the city’s plans to turf Tompkins, Zhu started a petition and raised awareness among his community. As of writing, his petition has just under 15,000 signatures.

The overwhelming support to #savetompkins leads Zhu and his fellow skateboarders to believe that the city will leave Tompkins the way it is. But if the city does go through with construction, it is likely the skateboarding community of the Lower East Side will host protests.

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