By Mick Melvin:
The pictures accompanying this article are of one of my favorite spots in Hartford, CT. The place has had a facelift since I first came upon it when taking photos back in 2010. The location was once the site of a basketball court, a chess playing area and two buildings (I'm not sure of their use).
It is now the site of Heaven Skateboard Park. It is located across the street from the former Butt Ugly Building location on the corner of Trumbull and Main off of Route 84 (see August 15, 2010, "The Butt Ugly Building"). The Hartford Yard Goats minor league baseball stadium is being erected across the street from the park (I eagerly await the chance to see an oddly named minor league team play so close to my mom's house -- DB).
What actually caught my attention back in 2010 was the awesome graffiti at the site.
I then noticed the basketless basketball court and the makeshift skateboard ramps.
There is graffiti on just about everything at the site (walls, doors, asphalt, tables and chairs). The tables you see in these pictures are actually chess tables.
I remember in the '70's as a child, seeing people play chess outside in the park when we visited NYC. I can only imagine this site bustling with people when it was first built. As you can see, the chess tables are in disrepair and covered with graffiti. I can't tell you the last time they were actually used. However, the site gets plenty of use now.
The Heaven Skatepark opened in July 2014 and attracts many people. The chess boards still remain, but get no love. The skateboarders definitely keep the spot alive along with the vibrant artwork. Who knows, maybe someday the chess tables will get some use other than as canvases for the beautiful aerosol art.