Thrash Bashing

The skateboarding community's unofficial lobbyist warns that crackdown proposals are self-defeating

Faulkner also says the $2,000 prototype stainless steel edging installed by Art Commissioner Jill Manton to protect concrete edges at Pier 7 only encourages skaters, who prefer the slicker edges. Manton was unavailable for comment, but John Winder, architectural consultant to the Ribbon's artists and the Art Commission, estimates that it would cost upward of $40,000 to cap all the raised blocks along the waterfront. And, he says, while skateboarder damage to the Ribbon is more widespread, "their damage is small chipping, as opposed to truck drivers who run into the blocks and cause major chunks to fall off."

Yaki stresses that the Aug. 15 hearing will only explore options and provide a chance for the skateboarders to be heard, but he does have a pitch. "We have to assess the skateboarders' point of view and find whether [a park] is worth the investment," he says. Yaki will tell the skaters that "the public's tolerance for skateboarding is going to evaporate, which means the only alternative from a public policy point of view is stricter enforcement. And I don't want to see a stop to what is, basically, fun."

Even if Yaki can draw a consensus, which he says is necessary for finding the money to build a park, Thatcher says he expects a long haul. "The average life span for acquisition and completion of any park is eight years. I'm not holding my breath -- and neither are the kids.

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