Kick, Push

Tompkins Square Park

12th St - Skatepark

There is a lot of skating in the East Village I noticed.  It’s one of those things that I wish I knew how to do.

I remember a time when half court basketball courts seemed to be in every park.   Then it was skateparks that seemed all trendy in public space design.  In Australia, Councils seem good at providing dedicated outdoor space, and I know people who are involved in that work like Plan C. When I was in Toronto, I didn’t see as many outdoor ones but Paul did show me a temporary indoor one that the City’s  Parks, Forestry & Recreation Department set up in St Lawerence Market.

In New York it seems most skate parks are “retrofits’ of existing space (courts) rather than the built-in ramping you see in Australian parks.   That said the multi-functionality of space is better in this sense.  The skaters in Tompkins Square Park are there one day, the next day you’ll see hockey players in the same space, then softball/baseball players the next.  Sharing of space probably comes out of a certain demand and density, but also just makes some efficiency sense.

Skating in public space always seems to be a contentious issue, as you see all kinds of “tricks” (uneven edge surfaces) that landscape architects and furniture designers use to stop people skating on things.  It’s a shame at times but public use of public space does get appropriated.

This reminds me of the very cool Lupe Fiasco, and his song Kick Push which amongst other things references skaters use of space.

“Labeled a misfit, abandoned
Ca-kunk, ca-kunk, kunk
His neighbors couldn’t stand it, so
He was banished to the park
Started in the morning wouldn’t stop till after dark
When he said it’s getting late in here
So “I’m sorry young man there’s no skating here”

[Chorus]
So we Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
And the way he roll just a rebel to the world with no place to go
So we Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
So come and skate with me, just a rebel looking for a place to be
So let’s Kick, and Push, and Coast

[Verse 2]
Uh, uh ,uh
My man got a lil older became a better roller (yea)
No helmet, hellbent on killin’ himself, was what his momma said
But he was feelin’ himself
Got a lil more swagger in his style
Met his girlfriend, she was clappin’ in the crowd
Love is what was happening to him now, uh
He said I would marry you but I’m engaged to these aerials and varials
And I don’t think this board is strong enough to carry 2
She said bow I weigh 120 pounds, now
Lemme make one thing clear
I don’t need to ride yours I got mine right here
So she took him to a spot
He didn’t know about
Somewhere in the apartment parking lot, she said
I don’t normally take dates in here
Security came and said “I’m sorry there’s no skating here”

[Chorus]
So they Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
And the way they roll just lovers in the twine with no place to go
So they Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
So come and skate with me, just a rebel looking for a place to be
So let’s Kick, (uh uh) and Push, (yea yea) and Coast

[Verse 3]
Yea uh, yea, yea
Before he knew he had a crew
That weren’t no punk
In they Spitfire shirts and SB Dunks
They would Push, till they couldn’t skate no more
Office building, lobbies weren’t safe no more
And it wasn’t like they weren’t getting chased no more
Just the freedom is better than breathing they said (they said)
And they escape route, they used to escape out
When things got crazy they needed to break out (they’d head)
To any place with stairs, any good grinds the world was theirs, uh
And they four wheels would take them there
Till the cops came and said “There’s no skating here”

[Chorus]
So they Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
And the way they roll just a rebels without a cause with no place to go
So they Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Kick, Push Coast
So come roll with me, just a rebel looking for a place to be
So let’s Kick, (uh uh) and Push, (yea yea) and Coast

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