The Friday Interview: Ed Pollio of 5050 Skatepark

We’re a few days into October of 2012 and for those living in parts of the world are currently dealing with dropping autumn temperatures. This isn’t as much of a deal for scenes with indoor parks but in years past for the New York City scene, it meant a few months of seriously unridable weather. That’s all changed this winter, as Ed Pollio has opened the 5050 Skatepark on Staten Island. Nick Jones hit us up a while back about doing a feature on the endeavor and with Fall hitting a lot of the world, I figured the time was right to drop the interview with Ed. Thanks to Nick for contributing this piece, and read more to find out what’s happening out on Staten Island at the 5050 Skatepark.

How the hell are ya? And how’s owning a skatepark going so far?
I’m good now. I have been working real hard trying to get 5050 open. It’s nothing like I ever expected. It’s really nice to have a place I can ride whenever I want (laughs) and I love building ramps, so now I can build whatever I dream of.

Ed stands outside of the 5050 Skatepark in Staten Island, New York. Photo: Nick Jones

Where did the idea for you to open up an indoor skatepark on the island come about?
It all started in the winter of 2010. We were trying to get National Parks Service to give us 2 abandoned airplane hangars to use. Bupsy made this crazy website with a petition on it that would e-mail every politician every time someone would sign it. The site actually overloaded the NPS e-mails and they shut it down, so that plan failed. Then, the NYC Parks Department tore down the Benjamin Soto Skatepark leaving the kids nowhere to go. That’s when Angelica (my girlfriend) said, “let’s do it ourselves.” We formed the corporation, found Pete, our crazy landlord, and made it happen.

Were there any complications with getting the park open?
Waiting for the landlord to clean out the space! Th building used to be a furniture store and we helped the landlord clean out the space. That held us up for months. Insurance was a pain to get also.

Is there a meaning behind the name “5050?”
It’s a skateboard trick and a peg grind. It’s 50 percent mine and 50 percent Angelica’s. I hated the name until Tom Grunwald did our amazing logo then I knew it was going to be perfect.

You had mentioned to me that you wanted to let everyone know that it wasn’t just you behind the opening of the park from the early ideas to where it is now. Who else was behind you with it?
As soon as we had signed a lease we invited the bikers and skaters from the former Benjamin Soto skatepark to 5050. They really designed the park then my “army,” as I call it, built the park.

The cold months are just about here on the east coast. Do you plan on having any events at the park this winter?
Yeah, we are doing a Halloween Jam on October 31st, King of New York event will be on November 10th, and the Group Home Bikes Train Jam will start at 5050 on November 24th. Video premieres as well, we just had the am:pm and Animal video premieres and they were a lot of fun. Hopefully Cult and LFS, which should be out soon, will be at 5050. We are also working on an art show.

What’s up with the Lindsey Lohan vert wall? Shit’s rad!
It is, I know. Ryan Humphrey did that piece for an art show in Richmond, Virginia. I helped him with the show and he gave it to me. He hates it, but everyone who comes here loves it.

Ever wanted to ride Lindsey Lohan? Now you can, at the 5050 Skatepark. Photo: Nick Jones

Are there any crazy stories while trying to get the park open? I know the city isn’t too stoked on action sports, especially the parks department…
It’s a long story but I’ll make it short. We lobbied the city for six years to get a park and I thought we were done fighting. We had a public park for six years and then in April of 2011 corrupt NYC officials tore down our public skatepark so we built an indoor skatepark without them.

Where can you see the park in the next five years?
We only have a three year lease (laughs). We would love to see it expand–bigger square footage and I want to just keep changing the skatepark up. I hate that some skateparks have the same setup and never change it. That is not going to be 5050.

You’re always hooking me up with free Red Bull and I just saw on your Instagram that they just sent over some additions for the park. What’s the relationshiop between 5050 and Red Bull?
Josh Green at Red Bull hooked us up with a sweet mini ramp and just gave us the Manny Mania fixtures. Plus when we were building the skatepark we had unlimited Red Bull.

I know you guys have a BMX only session Saturday nights but what are your daily hours and rates?
Our regular are subject to change so I would check out the website. We have BMX only session Friday nights 10PM-12AM. Angelica also organized an “Old Man” session for everyone 24 years old and up on Thursday nights from 9PM-12AM. It started as kind of a joke but no it’s actually our most popular session.

Is 5050 in the social network works? Instagram, Twitter, Facebook?
5050 is on Facebook as well as Instagram and Twitter @5050skatepark.

Anything else you would like to say? Shout outs or thanks?
Everyone! All the kids who came every day to help build the park, and all the kids that come every day to help keep it open, we couldn’t do it without them. Angelica, my Mom, Uncle Ralph for teaching me how to build stuff. Ralph Sinisi, Tom Grunwald, Osso, and Bob Scerbo at Animal for letting me build shit at the warehouse. Marc Kachtan the CTO. Mike Taurozzi and Nate Wessel for teaching me how to build ramps. Josh Greene and Regis at Rd Bull. Monica Siwiec for printing our shirts in a grimy basement. Shane Rossi, Yoni Arava, Alex Avilla, Vin Crispino, Chris and Tom Nazzaro, Steve Quigley and Charlie Quigley, Alexes Herrera, Ryan Humphrey, Nick Gregoreadis, Taylor, Danny, and Paul.

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