Ed Pollio is opening up a new skatepark on Staten Island called 5050 and Tom Grunwald from Animal hit Ed up to ask him a few questions about the new park. Check out the interview as well as more photos of the park after the jump!
I’ve been friends with Ed Pollio for well over a decade, he is the reason I started riding. He is one of the wildest people I know and has put me into a lot of situations that I am really pissed about at the time but a week later I can laugh about it and am happy to have lived it. On the flip side of that he is the most straight up serious no messing around professionals when it comes to work. Ed is a carpenter and builds everything from the desk I am typing this on now to X-Games ramps. His work ethic is un matched by anyone I’ve ever met and I am constantly amazed by how much he can get done in a day. A year ago when he told me he was going to open an indoor skatepark I knew right away it wasn’t just talk…
First off where is the park located?
354 Front St Staten Island NY. Around the corner from the Stapleton train station – 2 stops from the Staten Island ferry.
So its pretty easy to get to from either Manhattan or Brooklyn?
We are the first exit after the Verrazano Bridge and 3 Minutes from the Staten Island Ferry which is a nice free ride. Real close.
What made you decide to put the skatepark there?
The Building is really cool and is close to Transportation, and the Landlord didn’t know what BMX or Skateboarding was so he let us build it without knowing what he was getting into. Haha. What’s weird is my Grandfather rented the building in the early 60′s and my stepfather worked for Pete my crazy Landlord in the late 70′s.
It’s pretty epic that 5050 is about a mile from the first ramps you ever built in Rosebank, which started you down this road. When they got torn down did you ever think years later you would be opening up a legit indoor park right in the neighborhood?
Nope. And I think it’s really cool that bike riders are building it and owning it. Not like every other skatepark there is.
Would you like to comment about the time you punched Augie Simoncini for spraypaint your name on the ramps at South Beach and spelling it wrong?
I never punched Augie! And I will talk about anything you want. He wrote EdDie in a heart on the ramp. I took it the wrong way and I threw my bike at him from the top of the box jump while he was riding, and I still feel really bad about that to this day. Sorry Augie!
How many skateparks have you built on your own as a kid that got torn down by the city?
2 Ramps Rosebank South Beach 3 times so about 5 major size ramps. Then in 2005 after 6 years of fighting the city we got the Ben Soto Skate park built and dedicated to a BMXer who was a US Marine. We worked so hard to get it built with the city and we thought it would be the end of the city tearing our skate parks down. Then because of politrikks Ben Soto got ripped down on April 25th 2011.
So the Ben Soto park was the catalyst for 5050?
We went to all these meeting with Community Boards, Civic Groups, Parks Dept and met with all Staten Island’s Government officials and got nowhere. I feel really bad we had 75 kids going to all these meetings and their Government let them down and tore down their skatepark. And they felt let down. I couldn’t let that happen and give up and just move to Cali. We had to do it ourselves. So yes if the Parks Dept didn’t tear down the Ben Soto Skate park we wouldn’t have started 5050.
The park has some pretty unique setups that you have been waiting to build for a while. How good does it feel to finally get to build some of your dream ramps?
It feels good building and then riding it. I think I like to ride different stuff so I really think everyone is going to love it.
What made you want to build a replica of the little (small) Brooklyn Banks?
Well I didn’t do it my self Mike Taurozzi helped build them and he got the brick panels for our replica of the banks. We built them because the Banks are a Mecca for BMX and Skateboarding. If you Ride or skate you MUST go to the Banks before you DIE! It is Bucket list item without a doubt. And they are closed now and the retarded D.O.T put benches and planters in front of the small banks and ruined them. So we are bringing them back to life. It just goes to show that the city is not accepting the BMX and Skateboarding culture. They are trying to repress us. lol
When is the park going to be open? Are you going to have any special events?
We opened the park on July 7th on 2012. We want to have a big grand opening party in early August.
When we were younger it was easy to “come across” free wood, you’re going legit on 5050 and it isnt cheap. What’s up with the bricks?
Free Wood hahaha. We are running low on funds and everybody wants to help but they don’t know how to. We signed a deal with Fund Raisers Ltd. to give people a chance to be a part of the skatepark legacy. Each person who wants to donate can buy a brick through us, we will have it engraved and then those brick pavers will be laid throughout the park entrance.
Is there anyone you want to thank?
Wow Everybody! The person reading this, and for reading this far! Angelica, my Partner for pushing for us to team up and make it happen for NYC.
My Mom for telling me I can do anything, and that even if I was gay she would still love me. 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 Redbull. Monica Siwiec for printing our shirts last minutes in a grimmey basement. Shane Rossi, Yoni Arava, Alex Avilla, Vin Crispino, Chris and Tom Nazzaro, Alexes Herrera, Ryan Humphrey, Nick Gregoreadis, Taylor, Danny, and Paul.