Mon Oct 7, 2013, 10:49 PM
steve2470 (26,260 posts)
Skateboarders See a (Kick)Flip Side to the Government Closing
WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, the day after government workers vacated federal buildings in downtown here, professional skateboarder Darren Harper got on Facebook and broadcast a message to his crew: "One positive thing about the gov't shutdown—spots at gov't buildings are now skateable!"
Where most people see ornate, neo-Classical federal buildings and sweeping stone plazas in this city, skaters see something else: opportunity, in the form of sturdy railings, low stone benches, ramps—ideal "obstacles" for skateboarding stunts. And now, after years of ducking the national park police that patrol these plazas, this week's closure of public buildings and easing of surveillance offered skaters hope of revisiting their favorite spots. It was, said one, "on."
It's not that the skaters aren't sensitive to the capital's pain. Some work for the government, or their families do. But after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a security crackdown pushed skaters out of the Capitol area and eventually into a skate park created for them outside the federal district. And for decades, a federal ordinance has barred the sport on national park property, including trails.
"D.C. has some of the best spots architecturally for skating but also the tightest security," says Jonathan Mehring , a freelance photographer who lived and skated in the district in the early 2000s. "It's like torture for a skateboarder to be there."
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Skateboarders See a (Kick)Flip Side to the Government Closing (Original post)
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