While working against this model, Brujas made their skatepark pink. The color is a touchstone of Brujas’s aesthetic identity, and is “growing to be a tonal symbol of the new, gender-free punk-wave,” the collective said in a statement. The residency also included a workshop on direct action to help skaters better protect themselves, and hosted a they/them skate session, where non-binary skaters were encouraged to use the space.
As Brujas brought their progressive skatepark to life with workshops, performances, and open-skate sessions, they also recreated a scene that is slowly disappearing. The residency’s title, Training Facility, is a nod to Tompkins Square Park, which was given the same nickname by skaters in the past, before the park was gentrified. Gil explained that as real estate prices began to soar in the East Village, developers began wiping out places to skate––including one park called 12th and A. “I was there every single day, and it had to close because neighbors were complaining,” Gil recalled. “There was this whole thing about controlling noise levels, then they just closed it.” (It later reopened with a strict schedule for skaters.)
Gil and her peers turned to Tompkins Square Park, but even that was changing; a nearby skate shop had shuttered due to rising rent, and each day, more police seemed to appear. It wasn’t long before skaters like the members of Brujas decided to take their boards uptown and to other areas on the Lower East Side.
Performance Space, just a few blocks west of Tompkins, not only became an opportunity for Brujas to build a skatepark, but a chance to reconnect with the place where they grew up skating. “We created an indoor Tompkins down the block from Tompkins,” said Brujas member Tabby Wakes.