Throwback Story: Tompkins Square Park Skateboarding Contest 1989

In 1989, Shut Skateboards and Skate NYC (a shop in LES no longer in existence) helped create a memorable amateur skate contest in association with the Parks Department.

It’s saddening to see what the Parks Department is planning to do to Tompkins Park and that is why we are revising such an epic event. It’s important to see how the Parks Department once helped support everyone and worked with the community to bring everyone together.

While discussing what made the contest so good, Rodney Smith of Shut Skateboards said, “It was in association with the parks department…Because of the parks departments willingness to support skate boarding at the time, this contest was legendary and laid the groundwork for skate parks in NYC.”

Check out one of the original flyers for the event below, where you can see how important it was for the Parks Department to be involved.

The Parks Department’s involvement in this skateboarding contest clearly meant a lot to those involved in creating it. You can see the importance and meaningfulness of having a strong force such as the Parks Department stand by and support a group of kids thought to punks at the time. This gave skaters a chance to show what skateboarding is all about and how it can bring a community together.

We would love to see the Park Department support everyone as they did with this contest in 1989 and that’s why we need to Save Tompkins Park! It’s upsetting what the Parks Department is planning to do with Tompkins Park and we hope to be able to change their minds.

Sign the petition here to help save the park.

Jermey Henderson skating in the contest below. Photos courtesy of Irene Ching.

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