For someone from out of town, the sculpture and the fountain at LOVE Park is an iconic scene. A picture of the park screams “Hey! I went to Philly!” However, for someone who has lived here for a number of years the novelty of the park has worn off. I still like to go there to meet people who come to visit and it’s a great landmark to use when giving driving directions to my apartment, but I don’t go there simply to admire the statue (anymore).
There is some cool history about where the LOVE statue came from and who made it. Wikipedia does an okay job of telling that background story, check it out if you’re interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOVE_Park.
But the untold story about the park is the love/hate relationship the city has with skateboarders with regards to this park. By love/hate I mean the boarders love the park and the city hates the boarders. A bit of internet digging revealed that specifically the LOVE statue is a symbol for skateboarders. Mentioned as the “world famous center for skateboarding” by Skateboarding Magazine, apparently the design of the park is ideal for skateboarders to practice their craft. The park was internationally recognized in the skateboarding community as a premiere location from the 1990s until a ban was placed in 2002.
In response to a ban on skateboarding in the park, in 2003 Friends of LOVE Park proposed a plan to city council to limit when and where skateboarders could ride. They even were supported by DC Shoes, who pledged a “no-strings attached” $1 million donation to the city, according to Skateboarding Magazine. Not bad- right? Sadly, the donation was not accepted and the plan was not approved. Further, benches were replaced with less skateboard- friendly benches and other installations were made to discourage the sport.
You are certainly entitled to your own opinions about skateboarders and I recognize they can be a bit of a controversial topic. But hey- I bet you didn’t know there was so much contention about the use of the park when you walk through it!