When the temperature starts dipping severely and the snow starts dropping in earnest, what’s an East Coast skater to do until the thaw? Man up and hit the streets anyhow? Yeah, but even the most die-hard can only handle that for so long before the freezing slams start to shatter your bones. Some entrepreneurial-spirited and construction-minded skaters have ripped their own loopholes in Old Man Winter, finding warehouse spaces and creating private spots to keep the fires burning indoors while the frost chills outdoors. And come warmer weather, they’ve still got some solace from the multitude of spot-mobbers. Check out what four East Coast warehouse pioneers have to say about getting it done on your own…
Interview with park treasurer Bill Orsi and constructor Jimmy Day
How many key holders do you have? Would you recommend trying to keep the keys at a low number, or giving out more keys to generate more money to buy more building materials?
BO: We have 17 key holders and we don’t need anymore. I built this place to skate with my friends; I don’t want strangers in here having a free for all. This isn’t a public skatepark. To have a “skate space,” you should have enough key holders to cover the rent, as well as some excess for building materials and in case a key holder has to drop out.
Where did the inspiration for the current set-up of the space come from?
JD: The idea of the space came mostly from its shape and size. It’s a decent amount of room, but it’s shaped like a big “L”. After walking around the place and using boards to guess where ramps might go I thought about the basic layout. One part was based on China Banks in San Francisco, other parts were made to get the most amount of speed while still making something interesting. The theme of the space is based on street skating—taking things that aren’t designed for a skateboard and making the most of it.
It seems you’re pretty much the go to man for “getting shit done” around the space. What have been the most frustrating parts of this for you?
JD: We would have large group meetings to talk about what to build next. The keyholders would often critique the current state of the park. The thought would go through my head, like, “Who the f*#! are you to talk about how the park is being built? I’m the one who’ll end up building it!” I came to realize that although not everyone is working on the park, each person in that meeting has sacrificed a decent amount of their income with the hope that something good will come of this space.
You came into the space a bit later than most of the other members. What were some of the driving factors to get involved for you in what already seemed like such a tight-knit group of people? Beyond that, after getting involved, how was it building all those ramps without even consulting most of the members? Any friction?
JD: The big motivation in the beginning was what everyone had—a place to skate in Boston in the winter that’s dry and you could come to anytime. After Maximus went down in the late ’90s, the skaters from Boston had to either get a shovel and freeze outside or drive an hour and a half to a park costing money to skate and requiring pads.
Everyone had their idea about how the park should be. I didn’t want to take over anyone’s idea initially, but once I had seen little progress in the beginning, I just made one ramp at a time and gauged the reaction from key holders. There was serious debate about the park, but everyone in the group found something they liked to skate in the end. There was a kind of unofficial deal where Bill and I would be the deciding factor on the design, but we would also be the ones to build it.
What do you have to say to someone reading this wondering if they can come and skate the Space?
JD: If you think you’re going to make friends with us by calling or Faceooking saying, “Hey bro, I heard you have a park and I’d love to skate it sometime!,” think again. If you add a six-pack to the equation, we might get back to you.
Vid used with the article:
– Courtesy of Slap Magazine