How were you introduced to playground culture?

Skateboarders always kind of want to search out architecture, new stuff, open space. We need a little room to breathe and just being escape where you want to be outside, you want to explore your environments and then you kind of somewhere in there you naturally make some of them your home, you go to some more often, it becomes a meetup spot. Here at Martinez playground, like Blue Park, it's a meetup spot. You'd start here if you live in this neighborhood and your crew gathers up, warm up for the day, and then you go out and take on the rest of the city from here.

The playgrounds here have high energy compared to other cities. Why do you feel that might be?

The energy in all the playgrounds has a lot to do with the population density. I mean, even the buildings we're next to, you can see how many people are packed in them and then to be able to come out and reclaim that space, get out in their environment, interact with other people and just go out and play.

There's nothing better than seeing the people come over and claim their barbecue spaces and have their huge family gathering in the corner of the park, it's that energy level. And then being adjacent to it, if you're in a skateboarding environment or a basketball environment, it creates more energy, which then feeds off each other. It can become a really positive experience.

From left: Sudan Green, Jamier Burden, Veronica Eahdami, and Giselle Hernandez.

Can you tell us about any recent projects?

Last year when everybody was locked down and all the social movements were happening, friends and I came together and we wanted to give back in a way that we knew how. Being a fabricator builder I had access to space and materials. We brainstormed a concept to build curbs, then my friend Marcus came up with the concept to paint the LGBTQIA+ colors on the curbs to communicate these ideas of inclusivity. Skateboarding spaces are inherently inclusive and a curve is a perfect object where you can learn basic moves as a beginner skateboarder.

How do you decide where to place some of these new curbs?

Being a skateboarder you’re kind of just aware of spaces in New York City where there’s likely a need or a desire for that. We work with communities and sometimes the kids will be like, ‘Oh, you make the curves, can we have one?’ We work with the kids and we just know where and have a sense of what could be utilized best in what spaces.


How do parks and playgrounds contribute to your city's culture? On the flipside, how does the city inspire what you do creatively?

One of my joys and is being proactive and contributing back to the communities that gave us so much and you're actually doing it for others instead of doing it for yourself. I'm not of an age where I'm out skateboarding 10 hours a day and I don't have the time to do that, but to see, to be able to give back and see people enjoying things that we've come together and built is just as good as being able to skateboard on it now. I think it's always important to give back to things that you love; the communities, your neighbors — it can be internally fulfilling.

What keeps you going in this subculture? Who is pushing the scene to new heights?

I love New York skateboarding culture. I love the intersections of fashion and music and art and how specifically in New York those things can come together, and how those things can really come together in a playground or park setting. You got the music over in the corner, the volleyball players, random people, the hula hooping, and you have the skateboarders and dog walkers. You've got all these people coming together and mixing it up in these open spaces — just being a part of that is its own reward.