It’s been a particularly brutal winter here on the East Coast. Temperatures have stayed mostly below freezing, regularly dipping into the single digits. When it has warmed up enough to go outside and skate, the mountains of snow and ice left on every spot and every sidewalk make it nearly impossible. While New York skaters seem to be preoccupied with finding the location of secret indoor bowls or texting everyone they know to get into a warehouse in Queens, a few Philly skaters/filmers have been shoveling out the worlds most famous street spot, LOVE Park. We talked to Tracy Gorman, a Philly skater, filmer and snow shoveler, about the plow game.
Village Psychic: What’s up man, how’s winter going?
Tracy Gorman: What’s up dude? I’m sitting at work, not working. Winter has been kinda brutal. We’ve gotten snowed on every weekend for nearly the past month. So winter sucks right now. I’m actually going home to shovel after work tonight.
VP: Skating LOVE is always best in the cold months, with the fountain shut off and less people around. Have you guys been shoveling out the fountain steps for a while now? Or did it start this year because of the constant snow?
TG: LOVE during the winter is the best, less pedestrians and lurkers, less tourists and more room to skate freely. And, of course, the fountain is off. People have been shoveling the levels for years but the first time I ever did it was last winter. I’ve heard stories of B-Dougs (Brian Douglas) and others shoveling the park before I skated there all the time. It seems pretty constant this year because we’re shoveling almost once a week.
VP: Damn, once a week is heavy dedication. Who’s usually out there with you?
TG: Haha it’s dedication, but I don’t mind putting the work in to skate LOVE for a while. Normally Brian Panebianco and I hit each other up when we know snow is coming. If I don’t have work the next day we go shovel. If a homie is passing by, sees our Snapchats or we ask around, they’ll come lend a hand. If me or anyone else cant make it Penny (Brian Panebianco) will do it all on his own sometimes. He deserves a ton of credit for that.
VP: So we can assume that Sabotage 4 will have some snow clips? How often do they throw salt down at LOVE?
TG: I think there may be a few snow clips in there. When it snows or there’s going to be ice they usually salt the top area but not the leveled steps, which is funny because you’d think the steps would be the most dangerous part to walk on. We tried salting the levels ourselves to help with ice recently and it turned out to be a bad idea, I think we all have the salty griptape thing going on right now.
VP: Have you ever run into a city employee or cop that's salting or just patrolling while you’re shoveling? What do they say?
TG: I've never run into a cop while shoveling. The park ranger on duty, we call him Yogi, will stop you, question you, then kick you out. He took a look at my shoes, grilled me and asked, "What's this shoveling for?" I responded, "My grandma fell here last week and I don't want anybody else to get hurt.". He said "Nah, you're a skateboarder, leave the park now or I'll call the cops. We have a guy that shovels the park". So I said, "Well, fire that dude and hire me because judging by all this snow I’m standing in, he can't shovel for shit!". Then I went home.
VP: You've got to love the Philadelphia municipal employee work ethic. I heard Vizy got a ticket a few weeks ago for skating at LOVE, have the cops been around as much with the weather being so shitty?
TG: I was there that day. I think he left his bag and a cop grabbed it, so he went to get it. Until the past two weeks there's been almost no cops, another reason why winter is fun there. It's too cold to be chasing people. Last Saturday the cops came through like 4-5 times, probably just because it was nice outside. We normally skate all day or until we freeze.
VP: Damn, I left my jacket up there last winter and the cop threw it in the trash can and poured water on it. At least I didn’t get a ticket. Has that happened to you?
TG: That happened to me twice in one weekend a few weeks ago!! I had to go home since I had nothing to wear except a wet hoodie.
VP: Alright one last question: Do you shovel the sidewalk outside your house?
TG: Do I shovel my own sidewalk? Hahaha nah man, I let somebody else take care of that shit.