This year, ALUMNI is ringing in the Lunar New Year with Welcome to Chinatown to show love to the people and businesses that call Manhattan’s Chinatown home. We interviewed individuals who preserve and strengthen the Chinatown community through various means.
We spoke with Steve Rodriguez, the unofficial mayor” of New York City’s tight-knit skateboarding community. Steve’s unwavering passion for skateboarding and the surrounding lifestyle inspired him to launch 5boro Skateboards in 1996. Through his work with the New York City Parks Department and Department of Transportation, he has raided money for and designed more than a dozen skateparks and plazas throughout the city’s boroughs including Maloof Park in Flushing and Astoria Skatepark.
What are you working on under the Brooklyn Bridge?
Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan envisions unlocking the potential of the forgotten spaces under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, creating a new type of urban Community Park that nurtures connection, curiosity, wonder, and resilience. The Bridge is a sleeping giant - a Landmark recognized the world over – yet lands in a fenced-off, dark, underutilized parking lot. We will transform it into a neighborhood nexus connecting and strengthening our residents, businesses and communities.
Built upon the spirit and foundation of the original Brooklyn Banks, we will restore the Banks while expanding public space and access to create a variety of flexible play spaces that inspire, engage and delight ALL ages and abilities. Woven together from the vaults, arches and land beneath the Bridge, we will build a Park for our communities, by our communities.
How do you celebrate the Lunar New Year?
I’ll celebrate the Lunar New Year surfing in Rockaway Beach! This nor’easter will bring some waves and the doctor cleared me to surf a little after a recent foot surgery.