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Skateboarding mourns the tragic loss of trailblazer Andy Kessler

August 13, 2009 | 12:49 pm

Kessler The skateboarding community remains in mourning and stunned by the bizarre manner in which Andy Kessler died earlier this week.

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