Tompkins Square is a park in Lower Manhattan that maintains the vibe and aesthetic of Old New York. Known for being a hub for skateboarders, this park is the only spot in the neighborhood that provides flat, open ground and space to learn skateboarding for first timers.
A new proposal by the city, however, aims to remove Tompkins Square - but the skateboarders aren’t taking it lying down. They’re rallying against the authorities to save their beloved training spot.
Paper Magazine has the details:
Now, the New York City skateboarding community and their allies are rallying to "Save Tompkins" after the City's Department of Parks and Recreation approved a proposal to replace the asphalt at the training facility with synthetic turf in 2020. The Parks Department's decision was made in order to accommodate those who would normally use the fields at the East River Park, which is set to undergo a $1.45 billion flood-protection plan that will take more than three years.
The "Save Tompkins" movement may have been jump-started by skaters, but it's about more than skateboarding, Zhu said. It's about "preserving the identity of the neighborhood," and resisting what the city calls "beautification," which locals know is just another way of saying "gentrification." As is typical of urban renewal projects (another fancy term for gentrification), newcomers may not know the history of a community, leaving OG's feeling like the changes unfolding right outside their doors are not happening with them in mind. If the history of the LES says anything it's that folks are more than willing to fight for what they believe in and in this case, that means protecting the park.
image credit: Paper Magazine