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School Shuts Down 12th Street Skate Park, Citing Drug Use

12+A SkateparkChelsia Rose Marcius Skaters hop the fence at the now-closed Open Road park.

Open Road Park — the lot on 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A that attracts skaters from across the city — is closed to the community until further notice.

Mark Federman, principal of East Side Community High School, which sits adjacent to the park, cited overall disregard for the space as well as drug use on the premises, including the smoking and selling of marijuana.

“At this point it’s not really a safe space to keep open,” he said. “We decided that we’re just going to keep it closed until we figure out a way to resolve these issues.” Read more…

The Day | On the Open Road

Phillip Kalantzis Cope

Good morning, East Village.

Local skaters can rejoice because Open Road Park officially reopens today. The park closed recently amid reports of drug dealing. The closing forced East Village skaters to go elsewhere to ride, hang out and practice kick-flips. East Side Community High School Principal Mark Federman, who held a public meeting earlier this week about the park’s closing, said he hopes to increase the park’s hours of operation next month.

In other neighborhood news, NY1 reports that the demolition of 51 Astor Place will begin in a few days. Later this year, construction is scheduled to begin on a 13-story, mixed-use office tower; that work is expected to take about 17 months.

The folks at EV Grieve have photos this morning showing that the Yippie Museum Cafe is closed temporarily for renovations. Along with the Chickpea location on 14th Street, many East Village business owners are closing for a few weeks in order to spruce up the interior of their shop. EV Grieve also has photos of boxing promoter Don King smoking a cigar in Tompkins Square Park during the premiere of the free, summer-long film series there. The Local’s Joshua Davis will have a full report on the series later today.

Skate Park Will Reopen Friday

As we told you Wednesday, Open Road skate park on 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A will reopen this week. Our friends at DNAinfo report that the park will officially reopen Friday. East Side Community High School Principal Mark Federman said at a public meeting Wednesday that he hopes to increase the hours of operation next month. — Chelsia Rose Marcius

The Day | The Skyline’s New Addition

WTC 1 from Canal and ChrystieMichael Natale

Good morning, East Village.

It’s a sight on the New York City skyline that’s been almost a decade in the making: the appearance of One World Trade Center. The GammaBlog has a collection of construction photos that show the tower poking up through the skyline (to the left of the traffic light in the image above, which was taken by community contributor Michael Natale at Canal and Chrystie Streets). That portion of the downtown skyline has been empty for far too long. By the way, an American flag stands atop the unfinished steel structure.

In neighborhood news, federal authorities say two East Village tattoo parlors were doubling as boutiques for illegal drugs. reports that two Staten Island residents were dealing designer drugs to tattoo parlors Addiction INK and Addiction NYC.  The dealers, Igor Kanchik, 31, and Steve Zhik, 30, were both charged in a federal drug sweep that netted a Washington state-based distributor and nine sellers.

The owner of d.b.a., a bar on First Avenue, was in critical condition Wednesday morning after being hit by a car while cycling on Canal Street. Ray Deter, 53, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, reports DNAinfo. The staff at the bar asks that well-wishers refrain from calling the bar, hospital or Mr. Deter’s home.

Finally, Mark Federman, the principal at East Side Community High School, told a group of locals that school officials closed the Open Road Park on 12th Street because of recent reports of the sale and use of marijuana on park grounds. The Local’s Chelsia Rose Marcius reports that there’s a good chance the park will reopen but with different hours of operation.

Drug Use Cited in Skate Park’s Closure

Meeting about closure of Open Road Skate Park, June 29 Chelsia Rose Marcius School officials and Open Road staff members gather to meet with skateboarders and area residents about the closed East Village skating space on 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

At today’s public meeting to discuss the recent closure of Open Road Park on 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, Principal Mark Federman of East Side Community High School said recent reports of the sale and use of marijuana on the property were the primary reason that school officials decided to close the neighborhood skating space.

“There have been lots of reports of the smoking of cigarettes and the smoking and dealing of marijuana,” he said. “I’m not keeping stats but I have enough reports to be concerned.”

In the last few days, the school and Open Road have started raising money to hire more security to supervise the park during weekends and after school hours. Mr. Federman said that he understands “it’s a huge burden to the kids who come and skate,” and hopes to reopen the park — with restricted hours — later this week.
Read more…

A Skate Park Closes, A Dispute Ensues

Open Road Park closedChelsia Rose Marcius

East Side Community High School will hold a public meeting at 4 p.m. tomorrow to discuss increased supervision at Open Road skate park on Twelfth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A — the only official East Village public park where ramps, benches and ledges welcomed daily wear and tear before it was shut down by the Department of Education last week. The reasons cited for closure were drinking, smoking, fighting, littering and vandalism.

It came as a blow to skateboarders like 14-year-old Val Perre, who makes daily trips to the park from his home at 24th Street and Lexington Avenue, and sold soda, chips and other confections at the Open Road canteen last summer.

“I don’t think everyone should’ve gotten a punishment, and I doubt there will be more smoking,” Mr. Perre said.

Open Road founder and executive director Paula Hewitt Amram said she’s already recruiting volunteers and revamping fundraising efforts to increase park security during afterschool hours.

Still, she expects there to be some pushback tomorrow from residents on 11th and 12th Streets, who have made several efforts since 2009 to get Open Road — and it’s noise — off their block.
Read more…