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The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

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Skaters rejoice after winning battle for Tompkins Square Park

On Sept. 7, skateboarders from all around New York City gathered at the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park to celebrate their win over their summer-long battle with the Parks Department over keeping the asphalt in the northwest corner of the park known as “Training Facility”, or TF for short.

Skateboarders have spent the majority of this summer attempting to save the asphalt in the park from being turned into synthetic turf. Tompkins Square Park was one of five locations chosen to be demolished and replaced with synthetic turf to accommodate those who were affected by the renovation of the East River Park.

22-year-old Adam Zhu created a petition that deemed Tompkins Square Park “a safe haven for skateboarders and other marginalized activities. 

It serves as a melting pot for all walks of life and is an integral part of our identity as a neighborhood and community.” 

This petition was signed by over 32,000 people, including Academy Award nominee Chloë Sevigny who has resided in the area for many years now.

A rally was organized to help save the skateboarding site with help from brands such as Supreme and HUF — who have over 14 million followers combined — and posted on their social media about the rally in order to show their support for the preservation of their beloved skating hub.

The day before the rally was supposed to happen, the Parks Department announced that Tompkins will in fact not be replaced and will remain as is. 

Crystal Howard, the Parks Department spokesperson, said in a statement, “Tompkins Square Park has served as the epicenter of NYC skateboard culture for decades, as such, we have decided to leave the area previously proposed for synthetic in the park as is, and will not move forward with creating a synthetic turf area there.”

Zhu went on social media to express the excitement on this glorious win for the skateboarding community. 

“It’s not a coincidence that they made the decision the day before the rally. We organized, made our voices heard and made a difference. TF is here to stay” read his caption under a photo of the “Training Facility” on Instagram.

The planned rally quickly became a celebration for all skateboarders in New York City. 

Many gathered at Tompkins and all cheered as they all stood in line, ready to skate out and just enjoy the thrill of the smooth asphalt against their wheels.

Novice skateboarder Isabela Butler was elated at the fact that she would be able to come to the park to practice her skating as well as work on learning new tricks. 

“Tompkins is a place that feels like a refuge from how scary and intimidating [skateborarding] can be. This has always been a place in which you can begin from the ground up.”

 “It’s important to have an area like this in which people can mess up and keep going and not feel worried about what other skaters may think of them” said Butler.

It was not only local skateboarders from New York City that came to join the celebratory day; those from countries such as Brazil and Australia as well as those from different states such as California came to shred on the treasured asphalt.

Australian native Chris Luu came to Tompkins Square Park accompany his friends on this glorious day. “I’m super happy they didn’t demolish the flat ground here, because it is so nice. Tompkins is located in the middle of New York City so that’s lovely.”

When asked about the significance of skating at Tompkins Square Park, Luu said, “skating is a pretty universal language. I’m from Australia and I can come here and have the same exact number of friends as I do back home. We all come here as a way to socialize and help each other out whether it be on skills or just to motivate one another.” 

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