Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Kids Need a SK8 Park, an Open Letter to Diane Coleman

Diane Coleman is running for City Council in Jersey City’s Ward F.


Let me tell you about some kids, Diane. Some young adults, too, I suspect. I’ve only met them once, and only talked to one of them. I know they’re good kids because I’ve seen what they’ve built. Though they’re probably not old enough to vote for anyone, and they know the world’s stacked against them, I figure they’d vote for someone like you because they'd appreciate what you've for done the community. Chances are you've already helped some of them, or their mom, or dad, or a friend.


So, anyhow, they like to skateboard (they spell it sk8, fewer characters, you know) and to ride BMX bikes. But there’s no place for them to do it. The city’s too busy handing out construction contracts to friends and friends of friends so they can build high-rise apartment complexes for wannabe bankers and gofers to bankers. As I’m sure YOU know Diane, this goes on because those bankers are swimming in so much cash that even the gofers and wannabes can afford to live in luxury.

But these kids can’t get one freakin’ recreation facility. So you know what they did, Diane, they built it themselves. Here it is:


Notice the URL painted into the concrete for all to see. They know the internet and use it. They're livin' in the 21st century while our politicians are still trading favors and scratching backs in the 19th century.

It’s in your ward, Diane, Ward F. It’s just east of the light rail tracks between the Liberty State Park station and the Jersey Avenue station. Check it out the next time you ride the light rail. Chances are you’ll see kids sk8ing there.

Anyhow, they hauled concrete and metal bar back there and built some obstacles. And I’ll bet they can do amazing things with this hump, Diane:


If the kids can do this all on their own, without two dimes to rub together, think what they can do with your help. It boggles the mind. Boggles.

See, here’s their clubhouse:


Built it from an old shipping container. Repurposed it, as they say. Well, Diane, that’s just what you want to do to city government, right? Repurpose it so it serves We the People not Them the Bankers and Developers and Lazy @& Pols.

Who’s Hoder? you’re asking. Mike Hoder, professional BMXer. He came to this park, Diane, and rode with the kids. Signed his name on the clubhouse for them too.

You could do that, Diane. If you come here, I’ll give you an aerosol can myself. Nice silver. You can sign the clubhouse wall, too: Diane Coleman, Councilwoman! I like that. It becomes you.

The door’s wide open.


You know what the man said: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

* * * * *

Here's the story of another SK8 park some kids built. The story doesn't have a happy ending.


  1. This is a brilliant idea and whomever is going to represent Ward F better catch up to the dynamic minds of their youth.

  2. Nice! Jesus told his disciples “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me” (Mark 9:35-37).

  3. Thanks for this. Evocatively written and shot.

  4. And here's a report of a dance event just held in this spot:

    It's an asset to the whole city, not just the local neighborhood.