March 9, 2011
AS I WAS reading Gregory Heller's op-ed "One last chance for Love Park," I couldn't help think of its neighbor, Dilworth Plaza, whose fate is truly appalling - demolition. This wonderfully designed plaza is being demolished because it is only a walk-through - and too noisy with traffic roaring around it. But there are many things we can do with it. The lower section can be used for entertainment and information. TV screens, like those at the president's house, placed on the walls, showing the government access station, another showing Ron Avery's "Urban Explorer," another showing City Hall history.
July 4, 2002 |
As city officials and others in suits drifted toward the official platform, skateboard enthusiast Pat Gunter of Ontario, Canada, wistfully wandered about LOVE Park yesterday, snapping pictures of all the spots he remembered from magazines and Web sites. The occasion was the official reopening by Mayor Street of the newly refurbished LOVE Park - formally known as JFK Plaza - at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard. The mayor welcomed everyone to enjoy it - everyone but the skateboarders who made it world-famous.
June 1, 2003 |
It's been a year since the city shut down one of the world's best-known public skateboarding venues, LOVE Park - drawing anguished cries from skaters, their supporters, and lovers of urban grit and energy everywhere. Despite well-publicized promises by Mayor Street to offset the loss of LOVE Park with a dedicated skateboard park, plans for such a site have barely advanced beyond the early planning stage - and no public funds are available for construction anyway. A site along the Schuylkill behind the Art Museum has been identified by the city Planning Commission as a likely park area, but the Fairmount Park Commission has not formally reviewed proposals or given approvals.
April 19, 2002 |
Despite the clamorous opposition of skateboarders and their swelling group of fans, the Street administration is pushing ahead with a $1 million plan to renovate LOVE Park - severely curtailing the park's allure as a mecca for skateboarders. In an effort to ease the sting, Street has agreed to come up with land for a new skateboard park somewhere in the Center City area, possibly near the 15th Street on-ramp for the Vine Street Expressway, said spokesman Frank Keel. The city also has agreed to donate the granite slabs, paving stones, benches, and ledges torn up from LOVE Park - known to skateboarders all over the world as a kind of Bonzai Pipeline of their sport - for use in the new park, Keel said.
April 23, 2002 |
The end of LOVE Park as a mecca for skateboarding is "a done deal," a city official said yesterday. But a new skateboard park is definitely coming - though it will not be at a proposed site hard by the whooshing traffic of a Vine Street Expressway on-ramp. At a meeting with representatives of skateboard groups yesterday, city officials committed themselves to finding a suitable skateboarding site as soon as possible, and made clear that LOVE Park, officially known as JFK Plaza, would be renovated - despite the protests, despite the letters of outrage, despite the newspaper editorials and growing public sympathy for skateboarders and their bedraggled paradise.
September 14, 2006 |
Everyone agreed yesterday that the late urban planner Ed Bacon would have loved it: official commemoration of his career at one of his proudest creations, LOVE Park in Center City. To anyone who knew him, one other thing was equally clear: Had Ed Bacon been in attendance, he would have used the occasion to buttonhole Mayor Street and other officials one more time to try to persuade them to let skateboarders back in the park. "With LOVE Park, his first-born, I don't think anybody - including Ed Bacon - had any premonition that this would become the skateboard capital of the East Coast," State Rep. Mark B. Cohen, a Philadelphia Democrat and son of the late City Councilman David Cohen, told the crowd of about 100 gathered at the northwest corner of 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
March 12, 2002 |
It's a mecca for skateboarders. And chess players, no-power lunchers, gabbers, watchers, and rats. JFK Plaza - City Hall towering above it, Art Museum looming in the distance, LOVE in the middle of it all - is about as urban as it gets. Now the city wants to spruce it up, softening the hard edges, adding a little green, subtracting some skate mavens and rodents, and maybe, just maybe, adding a sprinkle of sitters and a dash of diners. The renovation plan, which is still evolving, envisions a deck and cafe tacked onto the circular - and currently vacant - Visitors Center building.
May 25, 1995 |
Skateboarders listened politely yesterday as Mayor Rendell extolled the new skateboard park, tucked under Interstate 95 at the edge of Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, and then they predicted that it wouldn't work. The newly asphalted patch under the viaduct, studded with plywood and concrete ramps and pyramids, will never take the place of forbidden John F. Kennedy Plaza, a.k.a. Love Park, the skateboarders said. "We're still going to skate Love Park," said Ryan Gawronski of Haddon Heights, N.J. "I usually just skate around the streets of Philadelphia.
May 31, 2003 |
Skateboarders of Philadelphia embraced Republican Sam Katz as their new hero yesterday after he attempted to show that underneath his power ties and business suits, he's just like them: black and blue from trying to master the legendary granite of LOVE Park. The 53-year-old candidate for mayor won over the audience when he fell off a skateboard and landed hard on his backside during a news conference at which he announced he is joining the crusade to legalize skateboarding at the Center City park, a mecca for enthusiasts of the sport.
May 18, 2013 |
For far too long, it was assumed that skateboarding and public parks went together about as well as oil and water. A decade ago, that notion led to skaters' being driven from Philadelphia's LOVE Park, an internationally heralded mecca for the sport. Skaters were seen as an undesirable subculture and a danger to those pursuing more traditional park pleasures, like sitting on benches and eating lunch. So it is a measure of how far our ideas about urban space have evolved that the deluxe skate park opening next Wednesday on Schuylkill Banks, just south of the Waterworks, has been designed in an ecumenical spirit that welcomes skateboarders and passive users alike.