Under the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge the sound of heavy traffic on the decking above echoes, and now the slaps of skate decks add to the lively din.
The Grays Ferry Crescent Skatepark is nestled in a bend in the Grays Ferry Crescent segment of the Schuylkill River Trail and on a visit this week skaters have already discovered this secluded skate spot on the "hidden river."
Though plans for the skatepark have been in the works for more than a year, construction began this spring. Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund developed the new skate space in partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Olitsky Family Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Fifth Pocket, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and Grays Ferry Community Council.
In recent months the new landscape of undulating concrete forms below the bridge has taken shape and the flat was finally poured in July. The area surrounding the skate space still missing its finishing touches, which will include salvaged cobblestone, landscaping, and seating. But that hasn't kept skaters from enjoying the new space.
As of Saturday the new park was cleaned and skatable. About 10 skaters of varying ages were enjoying the new space when I dropped by on Tuesday afternoon.
Egan Senker said he had already been to the skatepark twice since Saturday and said he liked it more than Paine’s Park, Philly's marquee public space for skating which opened in May.
“It’s way less crowded, and it came out better too… The flow of it, the construction, the seams, everything’s smooth,” Senker said, adding that he liked the trailside setting.
Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.