Known internationally to skateboarders as the East Coast’s most infamous renegade skate park, FDR resides silently under Philadelphia’s route I-95. This skate park needs no words to speak its message; the graffiti artwork says it all. FDR was built solely by local skateboarders, for local skateboarders.
The project to build FDR Skate Park began in 1994 when the city of Philadelphia grew tired of kicking local skateboarders out of Love Park. The government gave the skaters 16,000 square feet of cement, and a couple of miss-shaped ramps in order to keep the peace. Although the skaters admired and respected the efforts of the city, they felt the park left a lot of room for improvement. This is when the locals decided they needed to take over where the government left off. After many long years of hard work, FDR Park has certainly come a long way. The park was built solely by volunteers, and was paid for using funds that rooted entirely from donations.
The park now consists of a 13 foot over-vert bowled corner, flat and transitioned hips, high and low impact pyramids, various sized humps, and a 12 foot, steel reinforced vert ramp. The most recent addition to the park is the two huge bowls at the back of the park. These bowls were added last September.
This spot is like no other, and while some might argue, it can provide decent runs to skaters willing to adapt to its jagged styling, and oddly placed humps. FDR was not built for the technical, flip trick skater, but for those who love to go big and fast. The locals tear it up every day of the week, going bigger and faster every day.
Although FDR Park is about as underground as they come, the park has had its share of media attention. FDR has been featured in every major skateboarding magazine including Transworld and Thrasher. The park has been in many skateboarding videos, including the legendary CKY2K video. FDR is even featured in the popular video game Tony Hawk 2.
FDR Skate Park is considered sacred to the locals who helped create it. These locals take their skateboarding very serious, and at times the tension among local and out-of-town riders can become so thick it can be seen in the air. These local legends are very protective over their hard earned cement and have zero tolerance for outsider attitudes, disrespectful actions, and the ramp damaging pegs of BMX bikes (there are many anti-BMX signs posted).
FDR is certainly not for all skaters. In fact, most skaters will be turned off by its oddly shaped ramps, excessive use of vertical ramps, and unusual cement texture. Although FDR is not the easiest place to ride a skateboard, it is alive in away no other skate park is. It lives off the very people that created it, the philly locals.
DIRECTIONS TO FDR SKATE PARK
TAKE I-95 TO PHILADELPHIA
GET OFF AT EXIT 14(BROAD ST. AND
STAY IN LEFT LANE, PASS CORESTATES
TURN LEFT AT FIRST INTERSECTION ONTO PATTISON AVE.
PASS FDR PARK ON LEFT
TURN LEFT AT THE FIRST LIGHT IN THE FDR PARK
FOLLOW DRIVE AROUND AND UNDERNEATH I-95