Notable Deaths Elsewhere

August 14, 2009

ANDY KESSLER, 48

New York skateboarding pioneer

Andy Kessler, a trailblazer during New York City's nascent 1970s skateboarding scene and a designer of skate parks who was admired by boarders on both coasts, died Monday after suffering a heart attack following a reaction to a wasp sting.

Mr. Kessler got his start in the 1970s with a loose-knit group of skateboarders and graffiti artists known as the Soul Artists of Zoo York. They skated all over Manhattan's Upper West Side.

In the 1990s, Mr. Kessler persuaded the city's Parks Department to build a skateboard facility in Riverside Park.

Mr. Kessler had no health insurance in 2005 when he took a spill on his board and dislocated his femur. When he was unable to pay a $51,000 medical bill, several dozen surfers, skaters and artists helped raise the money with a benefit party.

In 2008, Mr. Kessler was featured in a documentary, "From Deathbowl to Downtown: The Evolution of Skateboarding in New York."

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