In a unique collaboration, officials from the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership, which maintains the Skate Park; Element Skateboards, which regularly holds events at the facility; and Bronx Underground, known for their alcohol-free and drug-free concerts at First Lutheran Church teamed up for the six hour event bringing music and skating together.
“This is the greatest marriage of events,” said Anita Colby, who helps run Bronx Underground. “Music and skating have always been linked – just look at the Warped Tour.”
Bronx Underground opened the show with a two hour concert kicking off at noon before skaters took part in a competition featuring DJ music provided by Element Skateboards.
“This was just a great outlet for our youth,” said Julia Geronimo, who first thought of the collaboration after attending a Bronx Underground event. “They really have the pulse of the youth and we felt the two programs worked hand in hand with our mission for drug-free, alcohol-free activities.”
The positive showing is a stark contrast to recent criticism over graffiti, litter and drug use at the park during later evening hours.
During a June 5 meeting of the 45th Precinct Community Council, its president Frank Fitts blasted the skate park, located at Brinsmade Avenue at the Cross Bronx Expressway and behind M.S. 101, stating that TNCAP was not in touch with the day-to-day activities at the facility.
“They [TNCAP] are down on Shurz Avenue,” he said, “and then the police have to deal with these young [skateboard] punks.”
But while Geronimo did admit to seeing some graffiti at times, she believes the park is a positive force in the community.
“I monitor the park and I see it being used everyday,” she said. “There are kids always inside. They really love the park and take care of it. It has had a positive impact on this community.”
Colby believes teens will always get a bad rap, noting that there were detractors when local residents saw “weird looking” teens hanging outside First Lutheran Church, as they awaited the start of one of Bronx Underground’s concerts.
“The vast majority of teens are good people who want to behave and are looking for the types of positive activities Bronx Underground and the Throggs Neck Skate Park provides,” said Colby. “I think the idea is to increase awareness of such facilities. The more we do, the more good it does.”
Bronx Underground is looking to go one step further and organize a number of local youth, many of which attend the various concerts and skate park events, for an August cleaning of graffiti throughout Throggs Neck.
“We want to give back and thank the neighborhood that supports us,” said Colby.
At the same time, Geronimo requests that all residents, parents and youth to call 911 when there is a crime in progress at the park and 311 to report an incident that has already past.
“This is the best way,” she said, “to keep the skate park a healthy and safe place for the community to enjoy.”