Skateboarding mourns the tragic loss of trailblazer Andy Kessler
Kessler, a pioneering figure and advocate for skateboarding in New York City since the 1970s and a skate park designer, died Monday after suffering cardiac arrest following an allergic reaction to a wasp sting. He was 49.
Kessler and other members of the ragtag Manhattan skate/graffiti group Soul Artists of Zoo York -- the rough equivalent to the Dogtown crew in Southern California -- skated Manhattan's Upper West Side and Central Park's Bandshell in the '70s.
Years later he persuaded city officials to build a skateboard facility in Riverside Park. He designed other skate parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Montauk.
Last year Kessler was featured in a documentary, "From Deathbowl to
Downtown: The Evolution of Skateboarding in New York," which is scheduled for international release on DVD on Sept. 15.
That will be a bittersweet day for the film's producers.
-- Pete Thomas
Photo of Andy Kessler by Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images