RIP Love Park – The Last Days at Love with Red Bull and Nocturnal Skate Shop
LOVE Park, one of skateboarding’s most iconic and beloved spots, closes due to renovations that will permanently remove the opportunity of skating from the plaza. To honor the spot that’s had a memorable place in skateboarding’s history, the mayor of Philadelphia lifted the 10-year skate ban on LOVE, allowing skaters to ride the park in complete freedom for five days. Red Bull and Nocturnal Skate Shop get an inside look at the last days skating LOVE Park in a tribute video.
About LOVE Park
When built in 1965, the architect’s intentions were far from making a perfect skate park. However, the park’s features make it seem like LOVE was designed expressly for skaters. Officially called JFK Plaza, the park–located in Center City, Philadelphia–got its nickname from the LOVE statue overlooking the plaza.
LOVE’s Skate Fame
The city park includes curved granite steps, a fountain, ledges, and stair sets that attracted skaters from all over the globe. LOVE’s unique design cultivated a skate culture that catapulted the park’s and Philadelphia’s international reputation in the skate world.
Professional skateboarders like Ricky Oyola, Josh Kalis, Stevie Williams, and Anthony Pappalardo made their names in the industry by being identified with their frequent use of LOVE’s famous ledges and stair sets. Additionally, the status of LOVE Park in international skateboarding culture led to Philadelphia being chosen to host the 2001 and 2002 X-games.
LOVE’s Skate Ban
While Philadelphia had made skating illegal in LOVE Park since 1995, the city stepped up their enforcement on the ban in 2001, by increasing fines. Then in 2002, they attempted to make LOVE “unskateable,” with measures including a 24-hour security guard in the park.
As critics of the anti-skate movement illuminate, the city tightened the skate ban just after cashing in on revenue that the sport brought them through tourism, X-Games, and popularity. Critics also point out that the purpose of the upcoming renovations on the park allege to increase revenue for local business, vendors, and the city- “the exact effect skateboarders had on the spot when they localized it in the mid-’90s.”
Sad to skaters worldwide, Philadelphia has now closed LOVE Park for renovations. The plans for the $15 million renovations are said to envision more green and less concrete- not good news to skaters.
However, the mayor of Philadelphia made a commendable move and paid homage to the park’s long and significant skate history. He lifted the 10 year ban on skateboarding at Love on February 10, drawing skaters to the park for 5 days of skating with no fear of being run off by city police.
“I’ve never seen the bike cops just ride by… it’s crazy to not have to run,” says Nocturnal Skate Shop’s Jason Klotz.
Dedicated skaters came out to pay their respects and get the last of the love from one of the industry’s most famous spots, in below freezing temps. Red Bull’s video tribute offers an inside look, chronicling the athletes skating the iconic plaza for the last time, with complete freedom.