Joe and I stumbled upon this civilization a few weeks ago while we were looking for scenic autumn landscapes and Philly tourist locations to photograph while driving around FDR Park (aka “The Lakes”). Like something straight out of an archeological “dig” site possibly in Mexico or South America…..the youthful inhabitants found here performed feats of skill and courage for the perhaps the Gods of Youth to observe and for us mere mortals to capture with our cameras. Slang markings and cryptic written sayings denoted tribal pronouncements for all present and future visitors to this spot to acknowledge and bear witness. These mostly teenage and twenty-something warriors with their baggy miss-matched urban street uniforms and care-free “live for the moment” attitude were oblivious to the rest of the world living two stories above them on this crisp fall Sunday morning, driving two ton automobiles, racing to and from their eventual destinations. I intently watched as they lined-up taking their place and position on these brightly colored cement and wooden hills and ramps which formed their playing field. They were not looking for applause from a crowd of spectators sitting on metal bleaches, but more the personal satisfaction and acceptance from their peers as they soared into the air and for a brief moment in time, defied the human laws of physics and gravity. Today, they were in search of freedom, freedom in both body and mind. And in that search they were really no different than you or I.
Photos: Scott Kern & Joe Perno