They’re gleaming the Gowanus

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Brooklyn skateboard punks may get a place of their own under a new proposal to turn a long-neglected Boerum Hill park into a haven for ’boarders.

The plan would transform the lightly used Thomas Greene Playground, which is on Douglass Street between Third Avenue and Nevins Street, into a destination for kids who currently practice their airborne tricks on benches, handrails, wide steps and even flower planters.

“Kids love to skate and there could be a place that is better for them than the streets,” said Jo Anne Simon, a member of Friends of Douglass/Greene Park, which wants the park — an overgrown and underused play place on the fringes of an industrial area — to have a new bathroom, more playground equipment and a small skate ramp or two.

The park prettification would cost approximately $4 million, according to estimates provided to the group by the Parks Department.

“Our goal is to bring people into the park and give them choices of [activitie­s],” said Simon, who plans to line up funding from local officials before bringing the plan to Community Board 6 and the Parks Department.

One local concrete surfer, Jose Portes, said that all he needs are a few flower planters to double as ledges for his airborne tricks.

“There are a lot of skaters here, but nowhere to skate without worrying that your board is going to shoot out into traffic,” said Portes, who freely admits that he has more than a little skateboard wheel wax in the game.

Portes and a partner, Michelle Sauer, are opening Smith Street’s first skate shop and cafe next week, replacing an organic-food mart near Bergen Street.

The veteran ’boarder said that the hottest neighborhood skate place now is a decrepit flowerpot on the corner of Union and Bond streets, barely an ollie — a “jump,” in skate lingo — from the rush of traffic.

“If a new park is designed right it can [make skating] safer for the kids and for everyone else who shares the public space,” he said.

Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the city’s Parks Department, said officials would be “open to reviewing any proposals.”

So far, the prospects look good.

Once a street sport with a punky image that relegated it to deserted parking lots and homemade half-pipes, city officials now see ’boarding as the new roller-skating. In 2001, Parks built Brooklyn’s first skate park within Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge. The14,000-square-foot outdoor complex of wooden ramps, concrete bowls and metal handrails cost $650,000.

This year, Parks approved a plan to build another few skate ramps at J.J. Byrne Park on Fifth Avenue and Third Street in Park Slope as part of a rehab funded by developer Shaya Boymelgreen, whose Novo condo tower now looms over the park. Abramson said the city was also building another concrete playground at McCarren Park in Williamsburg.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!