Nocturnal Skate Shop

The crew at Nocturnal Skate Shop in Philadelphia, PA raised $600 with their Build Project Bucket and have already built two spots so far. We caught up Luke Darigan, Nocturnal's Manager and Chris Gedney Assistant Manager to hear about how it all went down and their plans to keep moving, building and fixing more spots around Philadelphia.

An interview with Luke Darigan & Chris Gedney from Nocturnal Skate Shop

Can you give a little background on your Build? How did you find the location? Was it skateable before your crew started building? Is there any history to the spot? Does it have a name?

LD: We built at two different locations that were very close to each other. The one is a jersey barrier that was skate-able back before I ever lived in Philadelphia. It was always a good warmup spot but got demo'd a while back so we decided to re-build it and see how long it would last. The other spot is on an abandoned pier right off the Delaware River that we built a couple angle iron ledges and a parking block ledge. Some of the other local skaters also came down and built a kicker that was pretty similar measurements to when you prop tiles up at Love Park.

CG: Finding a good location in South Philadelphia is definitely pretty difficult. We had a dream barrier spot very close to the shop that was torn down roughly a year ago and that was always something we wanted to bring back. It didn't really have a name I always just called it the Washington Ave. Barrier.



How did you guys decide on what and where to build? Were a lot of people from the shop involved?

LD: We got to a point where we had all this money in the build project bucket and way too many ideas on what to do. One night the assistant manager at the shop, Chris Gedney, pulled the trigger and just went to Home Depot, loaded up a shopping cart and built it with the help of some of the FDR dudes and other friends. Everyone at the shop gave their ideas but the location we went with was out of the way and we figured it was desolate enough that no one would mess with it.

CG: During the 30 days we were constantly throwing around ideas and mentioning it to the locals for some input. One of our buddies Brian Dale tipped us with an empty fishing pier that conveniently enough was down the bike path from the barrier. We now had the option of building ledges and transition so everyone had something to enjoy.

You guys have some pretty amazing parks and spots to skate in your area. Why do you think it's important for skaters to build their own?

LD: It offers more variety for skaters. Skating the same thing every day can get a little monotonous and by building your own stuff, you just have more options. There have also been a lot of complaints by many people about our parks so if you have the ability to build yourself, you can make everything exactly how you'd like it to be.

CG: It's nice to have different options so you never get too jaded on one spot. Parks can get really crowded and overwhelming so having a mellow spot to session with your friends is always nice. You can also build exactly what you like to skate and it's a great learning experience.

Can you describe the process of building it a little bit? How much did it cost? What materials you used, and how long did it take from start to finish? How big was your crew?


CG: The barrier was built with about 35 bags. We spent two nights with roughly a 5 man crew and got a nice 12' chunk done. The ledges on the pier were pretty simple, cinder blocks, construction adhesive and angle iron. We also got a hold of some parking blocks and ramped them up on cinder blocks.


How much money did you guys raise through The Build Project? Was any other outside money needed?

CG: We raised almost $600 which was pretty amazing to me. We didn't have to use any outside money at all.

Did you guys have any special fundraiser events or was it just raised through the bucket in the shop?

LD: It was all from the bucket except for the kicker that was built by some of the dudes that run the local magazine Skate Jawn.

CG: Patrick O'Dell did a photography show zine release with us so we did a $5 donation to the bucket for a zine. The show made a nice impact but most of the money was just raised through the bucket in the shop.

Did you guys have experience building spots before or was this one of the first you've tackled?

CG: We are always helping out down at FDR park with pours and I helped build a backyard bowl for one summer so I have a little bit of experience. We had a really good crew of experienced dudes helping with the barrier though. Thanks to Picco, Brad, Willy Akers, Uncle Dave, Metzger and everyone else who helped out.

Has there been anything really surprising you've seen or learned through being involved with The Build Project?

LD: I was really blown away by the support and excitement that this generated. I didn't know what to expect but it seemed like most people were down to at least donate whatever change they were getting back from a purchase and we had some dudes put in up to $20-40.

CG: I learned how easy it is to rally some people together and make shit happen. It was rad to see so many people skating the spots we built. We had kids coming to the shop that haven't skated in years buying a new setup and I would run into them at the pier. It's a great feeling.

Is your spot still skateable or have the authorities gotten involved? If so what happened?

LD: We are about at 50% with what remains. Someone crowbarred the concrete off the barrier and left it thereā€¦ it was kind of a slap in the face because the space is unused and all they did was create an eyesore with a bunch of concrete scattered across the ground. The pier ledges are still there but the parking blocks were stolen and someone jackhammered the kicker. We have no idea who really did it but I showed up early Saturday morning a week back and it was like that.

CG: Sadly most of the spots are gone. The barrier only lasted a week. There is a security cart that was kicking people out so we reached out to the waterfront commission for a meet up at the site and it really backfired. There was talk with the city about making it a safe spot before so I was really trying to be optimistic. The word spread that it was back and thankfully a lot of people got to skate it before it was gone. Looking back now I wouldn't change a thing. We barged it and it was unsuccessful so now it's time to move on to the next one.


Do you guys have plans to keep going with The Build Project and build other spots?

LD: We do, we might do it a little more secretive so the spot stays in shape. We plan on doing little shapeup jobs like putting bondo over cracks at other spots, stuff that you might not really notice unless you're actually skating the spot.

CG: I definitely want to keep moving forward with the build project we just have to be a little more strategic about our locations. I think our next move is to fix up some little crusty spots around the city until we lock in a safe location to permanently build.

Any advice you can give to other skaters and shops out there that you can give when it comes to building a spot?

LD: Be respectful of peoples work. We asked people to not tag the barrier so it blends in with the surroundings but that didn't happen and could partly be attributed to why it got torn down. Other than that, just pick a good spot and build something that everyone can enjoy. You'd be surprised how many people are willing to help if you just ask.

CG: You definitely have to be careful about where you are building. I made a risky decision but skating that barrier one last time was totally worth it. It is super easy to get a few friends together and build your own spot. Deluxe has some pretty easy how to videos so even if you think you have no experience there is really no excuse. Thank you Deluxe for the spark that inspired us to get building!

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