Love Park

Philadelphia's JFK Plaza, popularly known as LOVE Park, is the brainchild of former Philadelphia City Planner Edmund Bacon and architect Vincent Kling. Its beautiful design connects the City Hall complex to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The skateboarding culture that its unique design spawned has been a focal point of Philadelphia's international reputation for over a decade.

LOVE Park's international reputation as an ideal skateboarding locale has been strengthened by the successes of some its most famous users. Internationally known professional skateboarders like (Philadelphia native) Ricky Oyola, Josh Kalis, Stevie Williams, and Anthony Pappalardo made their names in the multibillion-dollar skateboarding industry by being identified with their frequent use of LOVE's famous ledges and stair sets. Additionally, the status of LOVE Park in international skateboarding culture led to Philadelphia being chosen to host the 2001 and 2002 X-games, viewed by 150 million people in over 18 countries and attracting nearly a half million spectators during the two year stay.

But LOVE has been more than the proving ground for professionals or a source of international media interest in Philadelphia, according to Rick Valenzuela, author of City Paper article, "A Eulogy for a Fallen Landmark":

"...LOVE hosted dozens who were content merely to skate there. These were the [skaters] who composed LOVE's core of regulars—kids who rode the El (the Market-Frankford subway) from the Northeast and Frankford, skated downhill on Market Street from West Philly, through the neighborhoods of South Philly, Center City residents who moved specifically to skate nearby LOVE. It's these folks whose daylong sessions generated the murmur that would eventually spread throughout the East Coast and to the [skateboarding] industry."

External link

  • LOVE Park from ushistory.org in Philadelphia, with a fuller history.

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