They’re gleaming the Gowanus

Parks advocates want to transform the run-down Thomas Greene playground on Douglass Street into a skateboard park.
The Brooklyn Paper / Gregory P. Mango

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.

More from Around New York