First Look: LaFayette Park Skateland

From my perspective, LaFayette Park, bordered by Wishire Boulevard to the south and Commonwealth to the west is famous for two things — no, three: 1) The 2-on-2 tournament from “White Men Can’t Jump” was filmed on its basketball courts; 2) The south side of the adjoining Felipe de Neve branch of the LA Public Library (a former substation for the IAAL•MAF) is fenced off and inaccessible from the park itself; 3) It never really took a whole lot of rain to turn the inadequately drained, below-street-level southwest corner of the place into a lake often left standing and stagnant for days on end.

skateboardpark

Which obviously makes that section the perfect place for the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks  to put a skatepark that I biked by this morning and snapped through the bars of the locked gates that didn’t prevent several truant shenanigonians from enjoying the as-yet-completed zone officially dubbed by those kooky-krazee city types as DESIGNATED SKATE PARK (click the image to biggify and familiarize yourself with the inevitable rules before the sign gets tagged all to hell).

Though this design seems a little lacking in skate amenities — especially when compared to the Culver City Skate Park on Jefferson Boulevard that opened in 2007, which in turn gets totally blown out by the under-construction 16,000-square-foot Venice  Sk8travaganza — the fact is I’m just old and jealous. Back in the day when I bombed the hills of Hollywood and with every issue of Skateboarder magazine further mythologized the likes of the sport’s pioneers carving up the copings  all over the mythological realm of Dogtown, if I wanted to get me some official skatepark action I had to truck myself out to Reseda or West Covina and pay for the privilege.

We’ve definitely come a long way, baby. But we’ve got a ways to go if  “Designated Skate Park” is the best name the city could drop.

4 Replies to “First Look: LaFayette Park Skateland”

  1. Though this skate spot looks like it may not have as many “skate amenities,” it actually runs circles around the many skateparks built in LA. More is not always better. This spot is more representative of the street spots skaters are accustomed to. Most of the skateparks in LA are plagued by a design where too many amenities are cramped together. If you observe what most of the kids skate at the skateparks and street spots, it’s usually a basic 3-5 stair and knee high ledges. Granted a pool or ramps may make a taxpayer feel like their tax dollars are at work, only a small population of the skateboarding community skate these type of obstacles.

    One of the best parts about this spot is the smooth, flat ground which is sometimes a feature overlooked yet it is the most basic. I’ve been coming to this spot and every time has been a blast. Looking forward to more of these type of skate spots popping up. Kudos to Rob Dyrdek for leading this movement of skate spots!

  2. Excellent and insightful perspective Iontok. Thanks for the comment. If the city ever gets around to really naming this park my vote’s for dropping “Designated” and adding Dyrdek!

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