- Jonathan Mehring for The Wall Street Journal
- Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Ave.
Today’s Wall Street Journal front page explores how the government shutdown has fostered the resurgence of skateboarding on federal buildings and plazas, a uniquely D.C. twist on the sport.
Skating on federal property has been popular, if not legal, in D.C. for decades, and the empty city and lighter security presence created by the shutdown has skaters out in force.
The most famous skater here is Darren Harper, who’s traveled the world for the sport, but remains committed to his native city. Mr. Harper grew up in Southeast D.C. and speaks to school kids frequently about how skateboarding helped keep him out of trouble.
He’s started a skateboard company,Good Bully Skate Co., and aims to be the Michael Jordan of skateboarding, a sport that’s not widely popular among African-Americans but is an easy reach for city kids–especially in Washington, with its smooth stone surfaces and architectural obstacles. Mr. Harper says he hasn’t been cited for public skating since his teens, partly because the police know about his wider mission. “I know my city,” he says. When the National Park Service police approach, “Sometimes I don’t even run,” he says. “When you run, you agitate them.” (You can read a 2011 Washington Post profile of Mr. Harper here.)