Dude, Squibb Park is open, and it got a gnarly facelift — Brooklyn Heights’ long-defunct playground is now a skater’s paradise with a sick view.
The sunken space at Columbia Heights and Middagh Street had been all but forgotten by the city until the Parks Department ripped apart the dirt floor in May and replaced it with an expansive, flat rubber surface — perfect for landing that killer nollie you’ve been working on.
“This park is gonna draw everybody — skateboarders, scooters, in-liners — making it a multi-use area,” said Paula Hewitt Amram, founder of the Open Road project that conceptualized and maintains the space. “There are no good skate parks around here. This type of park brings people from neighborhood to neighborhood and draws attention to the area.”
Right now, the “skate park” is more like a skate space. Flat, multi-colored rubber covers the entirety of the lot, with a few benches here and there and a small bathroom building sits near the entrance. It’s certainly not the best spot to hone your grinding skills, but Open Road is designing some simple skate elements that may be added later — most likely cement boxes that can second as seating, Amram said.
But at this point, having access to the quiet park is enough. Prior to its closure — it used to be a small, dark greenspace with seating — locals complained about the lack of security and available exits in the park, which can’t be easily seen from the road.
Now, Amram and her crew of thrashers — including pro skateboarder Rob Campbell — will be on hand during all park hours, currently between 3 and 6 pm every weekday.
“These guys are mentors to the kids,” Amram said. “They’re sweet as kittens and they’re involved in the community. Just great guys.”
She also lauded the second phase of the Squibb Park project — the proposed $5-million bridge extending over Furman Street down to Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park — which park officials just confirmed is a go.
Borough President Markowitz and members of City Council allocated $4 million to the park for the bridge’s construction — which fully funds the entire project — a huge investment considering that constant budget woes and mayoral cuts have put the project on the backburner for months.