If you grew up skateboarding in the 90s, you knew about LOVE Park. Nestled just below the shadows of city hall, “JFK Plaza” was coated in smooth, hard, and almost dream-like marble slabs. From the ground to the benches and around the fountain, EVERYTHING was skateable and grindable.
Starting in the 80s and into the 90s boom, it was a skateboarding paradise. Some would describe it as the mecca, or the best street skating spot in the world – all would call it LOVE Park. In 2002, the city banned skateboarding in the park and a battle ensued. Just like the culture of LOVE, people from all walks of life came together and fought hard to overturn the decision and a lot of good came out of that.
The history of LOVE is interesting and heartbreaking. This is a great story put together by friends who fought hard for the cause (even though they may have never stepped foot on a board). There were many others like them and it’s what makes Philly special.
Sadly, and ironically, on February 14, 2016. LOVE park was closed for demolition. A few days before that, the city opened the park to skateboarding for a few final days. I was lucky enough to be in the area and got to ride the marble for one last time with the same buddies from high school – just like we did 25 years ago.
I always noticed the plaque that was set alongside the tiles in front of the infamous statue. I decide to come back later that night and make a print from it and figured 2 AM would be a great time to head out. Surprisingly, but not, the park was still full of skaters, photographers, and people just enjoying it. Everyone and anyone flocked to LOVE for one last ride and the energy there was unexplainable. We made this print in the early hours of February 13, 2016.
I went back to the park the next morning, which was really a few hours later, and the plaque was gone! Maybe it was removed by the city to be placed somewhere else, or maybe it ended up at a scrap yard in Grays Ferry. Hopefully, it’s in a deserving and appreciative home. LOVE park gave me countless memories over the years and this day was what they would call bittersweet.
Thanks to everyone who put their love into LOVE.