|FDR vs. VANS Warped Tour by brian nugent
FDR skate park was built in an attempt to give skaters a place to go after the city banned skateboarding at LOVE Park. They placed the park as far south as possible, under I 95, a cool dry place. Philadelphia did not achieve their goal in giving Center City skaters a place to go. Not only is the park much farther than most people are willing to skate, the park is not geared to provide what skaters want.
I recently headed down to the park by means of a different mode of transportation, my bike. What brought me to the park that day was not my usual routine of trying to conquer the concrete, but to skate along with some of the skaters touring with the Warp Tour. Much to my surprise there was some heavy sessioning going on. The most mentionable would have to be Salba (Steve Alba). He was tearing into grinds in the over-vert both backside and frontside putting Bams Thrasher cover to shame. The usual locals were there as well. Wes Crawford was busting out his local skills and showing us all how much he rides there. His high pop and tweaked grabs were twisting necks. Dan Tag, along with his crew of friends, was keeping the vibe honest with hollers and cheers for each and every skater who was having a good time. Some kids traveled up from Delaware. But not too many other Philadelphia locals were there. My plan was to ask the Warp skaters why they were skating the concrete, while just blocks away a massive generation X-treme style Vans Warp Tour was taking place. Adam Wallacavage finally set me off and got me talking to people, so the interviewing began. First Adam grabbed Dan Tag and told me to ask him why his arms are always so stiff. He avoided the question but was eager to talk to me about FDR.
Bri: So why are you skating here at FDR instead of hanging out at the Warp Tour?
A few moments later, on top of the parks main pyramid, Tag grabbed his buddy Rick Charnoski, who is working at Warp this year. Tag told me to interview him.
Steve Alba has been in the heart of skateboarding for so long at least twice the amount of time I have been skating. You can feel it when he is around. I really wanted to talk to him, but he never sat down. He was a skate machine. Finally I spotted him on a water break and made my way over.
Bri: Hey Salba, my friend does a magazine and I wanted to ask you a few questions.
I thanked him for his honesty. At that he finished his water and was ready to skate. The session got better. After it finally peaked, Salba departed. As soon as he left the smiles on everyones faces were gone. The few skaters still left tried their hardest to get in long lines. Maybe just inspired by the day, everyone wanted to get better. In these moments some collisions occurred. Anyhow, the good vibe was gone and the angry park dog mood was back. This attitude is part of what keeps many street skaters from wanting to skate at FDR. Its a shame that so many skaters of this city are so divided. Some have even gone as far as to stencil graffiti at FDR reading HATE Park simulating the LOVE statue logo.