In a matter of weeks, crews from the SF Rec & Parks Department transformed UN Plaza from the nexus of black-market chaos that it has been for at least a decade into a clean and lively skateboarding and table-tennis destination.
The new skate park, with adjacent fitness and game areas, officially debuted Wednesday, and the skater girls and boys were already out there taking advantage of it. At least two dozen skaters were doing ollies Wednesday afternoon on the new central, triangular hardscape pyramid, and the other mini ramps and rails that have been installed in the plaza. The center of the park is fenced off, and it appears the fences may be closed at night to discourage campers.
Also fenced off is the often beleaguered UN Plaza fountain, which has been spruced up with new potted plants and trees, and was once again running with water on Wednesday. This seems to be some last-minute lipstick being put on for the incoming visitors at the APEC Summit who may want to visit this landmark to the last major international gathering here, the 1945 creation of the United Nations.
Whether the skate park does what it's supposed to do, using daily skateboard activity to discourage and push out less desirable activities, remains to be seen.
But for the time being, while some aspects of the new park weren't much in use on its first day, the skate park was very active.
Professional skateboarder Andrew Torralvo spoke to ABC 7 on Tuesday, saying of the park, "With skateboarding, it's going to bring less sketchy activities around with people moving around and it's not so stagnant around here, you know."
Chess tables, which were a request of community members, were not in active use on Wednesday afternoon, though some were using the chairs to rest. Nor were the Teqball or ping-pong tables getting used, with the exception of one ping-pong table.
And how long before this foosball table gets destroyed?
The fitness court had one person using it — and it features mostly simple equipment for body-weight workouts.