The Safe Spot in North Hollywood: Two Years On, and Still Rocking
[Originally published on Yahoo! News]
The North Hollywood Skate Plaza, a safe haven for local skaters, is part of the North Hollywood Recreation Center. Squeezed between the Hollywood Freeway and businesses surrounding the North Hollywood Metro Station, the skinny strip of green is a classic Los Angeles park. There are tennis courts, a roller hockey rink, a couple of baseball diamonds, non-native trees and grass. Cliques of teenagers roll by on souped up road bikes, ultra skinny lightweight things in matching hues. A young man stands by the baseball bleachers and tinkers whimsically on his saxophone. There is no donation box, hat, or case, as if he’s playing outside simply for the fun of it.
For a weekday, there are a lot of people at the park. The shuffle and squeak of sneakers from a couple tennis and basketball matches fill the air, but the greatest action is across the grass, on the eastern side of the park. That’s where the skate plaza is.
At 12:52 PM on a Friday, somewhere between thirty and forty skaters swarm the Plaza. The spot has a good vibe, and there’s a central elevated island from which skaters can survey the funboxes, ramps, and benches. In fact, a bunch of the kids aren’t skating at all, though they’ve got their boards with them. One is eating an enchilada from a Styrofoam container. They rest are talking, gesturing, and making as if to leap up and do a kick flip off one of the many enticing ledges — but never actually doing it.
For every skater sitting, there are two hitting the structures. It’s a wonder there aren’t more collisions, especially since the blasé — or DGAF, Don’t Give a F…ooey — attitude skater culture prizes would seem to restrain courteousness. In fact, everyone seems too pleased with skating to consider each other competition.
Read the rest on Yahoo! News.