There’s no doubt about it. Philly is a town of skaters, put on the map by the legendary Love Park, a celebrated venue for street skateboarding and host to ESPN’s X Games a rare two years in a row. In 2002, the city banned skating in Love Park and redesigned popular skating features in an attempt to make the park unskateable despite an offer from DC Shoes for one million dollars, enough to cover repair for the park for the next decade.
After outrage from the local skate community, the city funded a skatepark at FDR Park, on donated land under an overpass on Interstate 95. The park was a joke. A few slabs of concrete, 2 pyramids and a grind box and local skaters were furious. Led by Jimmy Young they began sneaking into the locked park with concrete, building a massive, spawling park one support ramp and at time. Soon the volunteer efforts resulted in it’s most famous features: the Bunker wall at 60 feet long, eleven feet high with a foot and a half of vert; the Dome at fourteen feet high ; the CIA Pocket; the Indian Wall; the Minefield; and the Sean Miller Memorial Vert Ramp. The city let them build in a rumored unwritten agreement to let the skaters continue to build their own FDR skate park in return for leaving Love Park. The park is a favorite of local skaters like Chuck Treese, and Bam Margera, who featured it on his CKY video series. It is also a fully playable game on Tony Hawk’s video game “Proving Ground”.
In 2005, FDR Skatepark was host to the Gravity Games. With it’s array of ever changing Graffiti, endless speedlines, monsoons and verts, this free skatepark has been a true gem in the skate community. Designed by skaters and for skaters, it manages to have hit the mainstream by way of video sharing, and remains true to its roots and it’s community of both diehard locals and pros alike.