LOVE Lost: A Local View

In the fall of 1994, the Subzero skateboard shop held a contest at LOVE Park.At the time, I’d never been to Philly. So Bobby Puleo, Mike and Quim Cardona, and I drove down to check it out. Upon arriving, I saw a sea of skaters in the most perfectly built city plaza. The shop also built some ramps and hired a local DJ to spin some hip-hop. This was too good to be true. Cops were even there watching. Now fast-forward nine years, and you’ll be locked up in jail.After that day skating LOVE Park, I decided this was the city for me. One month later I was living in downtown Philly and started shooting photos with Ricky Oyola, Fred Gall, Matt Reason, Stevie Williams, etc. on a daily basis. LOVE Park was the place to meet up and learn skate lines through all the various obstacles it provided. No matter what, you would always meet up with your friends and skate ’til dark.Over the years I’ve met so many people and friends just because of LOVE Park. Bam Margera, Mike Maldonado, Kerry Getz, Kevin Taylor, Josh Kalis, Brian Wenning, Anthony Pappalardo, and Chris Cole just to name a few. I’ve also seen skaters come from nothing and then transform into a superstar-status level.As weird as it might sound, LOVE Park gave jobs to skateboarders, photographers, and filmers. We actually made a decent living from it. Some pros even made more money than your average citizen could comprehend.Now that LOVE Park has been banned from a such a positive sport, I’ve noticed declines in skate-shop businesses, skaters relocating themselves, tougher photo/filming deadlines to meet up with, a decrease in certain people’s coverage and shoe endorsement sales … the list goes on.Taking away LOVE Park was the worst mistake this city has ever made.-Ryan Gee