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San Francisco’s new UN Plaza more than a skate park

skateboarder at UN Plaza, San Francisco
Sheryl Kaskowitz
UN Plaza, San Francisco

When you approach UN Plaza from City Hall, you may not even realize it’s a skate park.

Past a row of cement chess tables is a set of ping-pong tables, with paddles and ping-pong balls set out for anyone to use. Across from that is an outdoor gym, and a cement foosball table. In another corner, the women’s soccer team, the Nighthawks, tries out a soccer juggling game on the new Teqball court.

The skate park stretches down to Market Street, with an assortment of rails and ledges designed by professional skateboarder, Austin Kanfoush. On this sunny Thursday morning, there are already at least 10 skaters trying it out.

The new plaza also includes more trees and cafe seating. It’s all part of Mayor London Breed’s, "Roadmap to San Francisco's Future." The plan includes enhancing the downtown area, with specific attention to the UN Plaza.

However, there has been some criticism from vendors in the heart of the city’s Farmers Market, which has been at the site for years. They have been forced to relocate. Over the summer, leaders involved with the market cited concerns about decreased food access for the communities they serve, since their new location on Fulton St. is farther from the Civic Center BART station.

Sheryl Kaskowitz is a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy. Her beat is arts and culture in public spaces.