View Full Version : Skate Parks

June 30th, 2003, 05:39 PM

Queens Gets Its First Skate Park

June 30, 2003

The first skate park in Queens means kids won't have to chip steps and crack benches across the city anymore. But skaters say they probably still will.

The new skate area, a converted basketball court in Forest Park, is the fifth citywide and the first of two planned for Queens.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe billed it as an alternative to skating in off-limits spaces.

"It's a lot safer than being on the streets," Benepe said at a ribbon-cutting Monday.

Boarders say the new park reflects a boom in skating over the past few years. Celebrity skaters like Tony Hawk, who inspired a popular videogame and stars in a Doritoes commercial, have drawn increased publicity to the sport. So has coverage on ESPN's X-Games show.

"When I started skating four years ago, it was me and maybe four other kids in the neighborhood," said 18-year-old Karolis Maciulskis of Richmond Hill. "Now you even see little kids with skateboards."

But will the boarders keep hopping the subway to Manhattan in search of new turf?

"Yeah, of course!" said 14-year-old Darek Ziemkiemwicz of Glendale, one of a dozen or so skaters who turned out for the ceremony.

Ziemkiemwicz, like all the skaters, said he welcomed the new park. Still, he said the park's small equipment couldn't match the ledges and stairs he rides in midtown.

And the helmets and padding the park requires overheat you in the hot summer months, he said.

Maciulskis, who works as a supervisor at the park, said skaters would always seek new places to ride.

"It's a lifestyle--the freedom," he said. "When you're on your skateboard you do whatever you want. There's nobody to tell you what to do."

Monday, though, the kids were happy to follow instructions.

Before a bank of television cameras and newspaper photographers, the skaters strapped on their helmets and mounted their boards on cue. They ground the new grinding rail and launch off the new launching pad. They swooshed down the quarter pipe through a green ribbon held by the parks commissioner.

Nick Monteleone, 19, expressed joy that they no longer had to skate in Forest Park's concert bandshell. Park workers had accused them of vandalizing the space and would chase them away, he said.

"We've been complaining for four years," he said. "We finally got someplace where we can't get hassled."

Robert Arce, of Ozone Park, tries out one of the skateboarding ramps at the new Forest Park skate area in Queens.

July 1st, 2003, 11:05 AM
I'm glad to see this. For any skaters out there, there's a great skate/bike park near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx that's generally only filled to half capacity or so.

July 1st, 2003, 03:19 PM
There's a small one in Hudson River Park near Canal St., and another one on the public pier adjacent to Chelsea Piers.

July 1st, 2003, 03:41 PM
Having been a skater when I was a kid *and watching it's growth Im glad that the City is building more skate parks, I would love to see a skate park built on one of those dilapidated piers on the West Side as part of the West Side Park.

When I visited Seattle a couple years ago there was a great skatepark in Seattle Center that was donated by the members of Pearl Jam, I thought that was really cool.

July 1st, 2003, 08:34 PM
Chelsea Piers, Manhattan...