Summertime is coming, which means it’s time to slow down on watching porn and to start skating again. But where to go? If you’re in NYC, there are literally a billion things to skate, making it almost impossible to pick just one.
There are already some pretty good guides to help you find Manhattan’s finest along with obscure spots, like Quartersnacks and Newyorkcityskateparks.com, but what if you’re in Brooklyn and you just want a mellow place to link up with your friends, toss back some tallboys, and talk trash all day?
Here are 16 skate hubs where you can loiter / skate without getting easily booted by cops or annoying pedestrians. Whether you’re an out of town newbie with no idea where to go, or you don’t feel like spot digging, we got you covered with the basics.
(Before you comment that so-and-so ledge wasn’t included, chill out. This list isn’t all-encompassing. The idea is that you can meet up with your homies at one of these spots and explore from there – finding all the cellar door gems and busted ledges that New York’s best borough has to offer. We’ll also add more as time goes on!)
Washington Monument [map]
Obstacles: A well-waxed stone three stair is the main attraction at this site, unless, of course, you’re trying to get buck. In that case, you can opt for the massive gap-to-handicap-rail that goes down this three-flat-three that is fun to do tricks down or up. There’s also some concrete chessboards between benches you can noseblunt like the Mu$ka.
How to get there: Located right under the Williamsburg Bridge, so you can take the J/M/Z to Marcy Ave. or the L to Bedford Ave. to get there. Or, if you’re coming from Manhattan, pushing over the Williamsburg Bridge will spit you right out into the monument.
Security: Nobody is going to kick you out for skating here. Occasionally a bicyclist will buzz by and throw up a middle-finger if you’re in their way, but throw a stick in between their spokes Big Daddy style and that’ll stop ’em real quick.
Pro tips: The bodega across from the park should serve all your beverage needs, but if you’re here on a weekend you can call in an order of chicken and waffles for pick up from Pies ‘n Thighs just around the corner. Grab yourself an Arnold Palmer while you’re at it.
Blue Park [map]
Obstacles: The central-hub of “skatepark” skateboarding in Brooklyn. Blue has a bunch of slanted manny pads and ledges for you to get tech on, and there’s usually some other sorts of skateable rubbish laying around too.
How to get there: At the intersection of Manhattan Ave. and Scholes St., a short skate or walk from the Montrose Ave. L station and the Lorimer St. JMZ stop.
Security: It’s a designated “skatepark,” so you definitely won’t get kicked out of here. The cleanup crew might come by and throw away your bumbag if you leave it laying around though, and the adjacent school has P.E. every weekday around noon so it becomes an expanse of football games and gossip circles for a good hour or so.
Pro tips: Best experienced in mornings or after school hours. If you need good + cheap food there’s a Vietnamese spot 2 blocks away where a lot of people go called Nam Nam. $6-$7 gets you a proper sammy and a place to sit down, although there’s no bathroom in there or sink to wash your hands so plan accordingly.
Williamsburg Ferry [map]
How to get there: Close to the Bedford Ave. L and Marcy Ave. JMZ stops, adjacent to the Williamsburg ferry stop. The spot is directly behind a fancy glass skyrise apartment building, whose residents are low-key millionaires with young children in strollers.
Security: They rarely kick out skaters (unless you’re caught smoking or drinking). Lots of young families walk through so prepare to avoid small children and small dogs while filming your lines. If you’re here on the weekends, the ferry drops off tourists every half hour. On weekdays it’s generally dead with just a few park-goers sitting around on benches or in the grass.
Pro tips: There’s a CVS at the end of the block for all the essentials, and for anyone that’s not broke, on Saturdays, Smorgasburg is located just one block north. Vendors there sell food from a variety of NYC eateries. Think fried chicken sandwiches, BBQ, Mexican food, ice cream, etc. All of it is a bit pricey, but if you want to mingle with basic weekend warriors and hot euro tourists, that’s the place to do it.
Fort Greene Park [map]
Obstacles: A tallish ledge on top of a tallish block of concrete – good for grind to manual combos and that kind of trickery. There’s also a weird, not-skatestopped-well-enough bank obstacle you can get creative on if you’re into that sort of thing.
How to get there: One block east of the B/F/N/Q/R Dekalb Ave stop.
Security: The parks department may kick you out of here if they catch you skating, you might even get a ticket for the act too. But they might take you on a little historical tour of the monument if you ask nicely.
Brower Park [map]
Obstacles: A few shin-to-knee-high painted ledges with beveled edges surround two basketball courts in the heart of Crown Heights. There’s also a gravel-ground “skatepark” consisting of a wedge quarter pipe and some of those pre-fab concrete ledge/manual pad concoctions on a lower level of the park.
How to get there: Take the 3 or the C train to the Kingston stop and follow the signs to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Or you can take the B43 bus straight to the museum and hop off right at the spot like the MTA is your personal chauffeur.
Security: This place polices itself. On warmer days the basketball courts will be packed, and those kids won’t hesitate to wreck your shit if you mess up their jump shot. Down at the “skatepark” you have to deal with the normal little kids running around and stealing your board, but be nice to them because their uncle is possibly lurking close by all hopped up on spice!
Pro tips: Public restrooms by the basketball courts are actually pretty clean. A few blocks over on Nostrand you’ll find juice bars, cafes, and the best local jerk chicken chain, Peppa’s.
Commodore Barry Park [map]
Obstacles: Three benches in a row on a mellow downhill. They’re made out of that recycled plastic fake wood stuff so they grind and slide like ice. There’s also a few of those rainbowed tree planter things you can boardslide if you want to rumble.
How to get there: A mellow hill-bomb away from Fat Kid.
Security: Never heard about anyone getting kicked out of this spot so we assume it’s all good. But if you end up in cuffs ‘cause you were battling a tailslide and refused to leave when someone with authority tells you otherwise don’t blame us.
Cooper Park [map]
Obstacles: A couple quarter pipes on both ends of the park, a manual pad with coping, two banks, an out ledge and out rail, a stair set with hubbas, and assorted knee-high ledges. Also a Euro gap/step up and a rainbow rail.
How to get there: A quick skate from the Grand St. L stop.
Security: The park is in a heavily patrolled (read: gentrified) area, so you can’t skate for too long at night without attracting police attention.
Pro tips: The park is also popular with junkies, so watch out for needles in the grass and avoid any conflict with them. Also, the closest bodega is about a three block skate from the park at Olive & Metropolitan, so you can grab a tall boy and a chicken cutlet sandwich.
Fat Kid (Golconda Skatepark) [map]
Obstacles: Formerly a grimy parking lot made famous by DVS-era Dill’s knee-high socks, this is now an official skatepark with all sorts of transition and ledges for you to get funky on. The lights here do turn on after 7 p.m., but they’re about bright enough to let you see two feet in front of you and that’s it.
How to get there: You can take the F train to the York St. station and walk about 10 minutes, or take the B57 bus to Gold St/Sands St.
Security: This is a real deal skatepark so you won’t get kicked out of here.
Pro tips: Basically surrounded by a bev desert, so bring something along or get stuck making a five-minute skate to get anything to hydrate yourself or to buy papers/wraps.
The Jungle DIY [map]
Obstacles: A never-completed DIY project started by Max Palmer, 917 and Nike guys. They built a small quarter pipe, kicker, cinder-block ledge before the project got stopped by the boys in blue. There are also these weird whoop-de-doos that work as a launch ramp to pole jam kind of thing. Rumor has it that the spot sits on top of an abandoned subway station, so watch out for urban explorers coming from the sewers.
How to get there: Located right outside the Utica Ave A/C subway station. Just exit the station and look for the chain-link fence and voilà!
Security: The cops put the nix on building here because the city takes a wack stance toward grassroots community reconstruction efforts, but you most likely won’t get hassled by authority figures if you’re just skating there.
Maria Hernandez [map]
Obstacles: A convexly curved metal ledge/manual pad on deceptively-shitty cobblestone ground. There’s also a knee-high bar to hop over and a bunch of tall yellow planters to boardslide or just get wrecked on.
How to get there: A short walk or skate from the Jefferson St. L stop and the Knickerbocker Ave. M stop.
Security: You won’t get kicked out of here, but in the nice summer weather the park will be crawling with tots to dodge, so make sure you’ve got some board control.
Pro tips: If you are in your 20s / early 30s you’re in the middle of a skater bar haven: Carmelo’s, 3 Diamond Door, Mad Tropical and 101 Wilson will keep you busy chasing hookups all night. The infamous taco factory Los Hermanos is 3 blocks away, where you’ll be rich with $10. It’s also BYOB!
5th & 5th [map]
How to get there: A slightly downhill surface with a bunch of various pre-fab and recycled-plastic skate obstacles scattered about. Good for flatground and learning how to hold lipslides for as long as Torey Pudwill – windmill arms not included.
Location: Take the F/G train to 4th Ave stop. Or you can take the R train to 9th St. It’s a quick skate from either stop.
Security: This place is designed to be skated so you shouldn’t have any troubles getting a sesh on. No lights at night so get it in while you can.
McCarren Park [map]
Obstacles: A couple quarter pipes, a few flat bars, a volcano, a stair set with a steep handrail, and assorted knee-high ledges. Also a Euro gap/step up and a pole jam for you to practice those low impact bangers.
How to get there: A short skate from the Lorimer St. L train or the Nassau Ave. G train.
Security: Besides a quick beef with a BMXer should you collide and knock them off their bike, no issues here. Can even get a night skate in (it’s not well lit, but lit enough).
Pro tips: Turkey’s Nest a few blocks away sells alcohol in styrofoam “to-go” cups, which you can sneak in. Strongly recommend their frozen margaritas. Like an alcoholic slushy perfect for summer days.
Owl’s Head [map]
Obstacles: A crusty tranny-park for all you bowl shredders out there. Sandy concrete and well-proportioned transition make this place the next best thing to surfing a wave Scott Oster style.
How to get there: Take the R to Bay Ridge and skate a few blocks over.
Security: It’s a skatepark, so you know what that means – watch out for scooter kids tailwhips and the locals boneless 360 flyouts and you’ll be gravy.
Pro tips: If it’s a nice day and you got some time to kill, ride your bike so you can skate or gawk at the long-ass double set rail in Sunset Park.
White Ledges [map]
Obstacles: A basketball court surrounded by shin-high concrete ledges that slide and grind surprisingly well. There’s also a handicap rail to grind if you’ve got the hops and some weird playground things to tinker with if you’re into that Evisen-style of skating.
Location: A 5-minute skate from Broadway Junction (L/A/C/J/Z) and even quicker from Chauncey J/Z or Bushwick-Aberdeen L stops.
Security: Although this is a basketball court there’s always a majority of skaters present to keep the hoopers clear. If you plan on kooking it out over there, your biggest worry might be Lurker Lou, who is for all intents and purposes the spot sheriff, making sure shit stays skateable and clean.
Pro tips: Plenty of greasy fast food options around the nearby Broadway Junction subway station, so health conscious skaters should bring their own fuel. Outdoor elliptical machines across the street for warming up those muscles and a cemetery down the street where your goth SO can take selfies while you skate.
Obstacles: A few funky ledges scattered around a basketball court. There’s a chill curb-sized manual pad, an A-frame ledge, and a curved bench to play with, as well as these brick volcano planters surrounding the trees just outside the park.
How to get there: You can take the F/G train to Bergen street and walk about 10 minutes. You can also take the A train to Hoyt-Schermerhorn and walk 10 minutes. Or you can take the N train to Atlantic Avenue Barclay’s Center and walk 10 minutes. You’re walking 10 minutes no matter what, basically.
Security: This is a designated skate zone, so you should be fine with skating here whenever. Sometimes the local Latinos get a volleyball game going that takes over half the park, but I’m sure if you ran up and spiked a shot they’d pack up and give the park back to your crew so y’all can try your NAC’s or whatever.
Pro tips: Homage skate shop is only a block and a half away in case you break a bearing or just really need to take a shit.
Borough Hall [map]
Obstacles: This is the closest thing New York has to a Euro-chill-zone. Perfectly smooth stone ground, two-tiers of waxed-up stairs to grind, some metal grates to gap over, and hordes of pedestrians to dodge and hit on. Shout out to the Village Psychic guys for making the steps skateable.
How to get there: Take the 2/3 or 4/5 directly to the Borough Hall stop. Walk up the stairs and you’re at the spot.
Security: This place is a courthouse or something, so there’s no skating during the weekday work hours, but it’s a free-for-all all weekend. Remember to be respectful of the mixed-use and help the maintenance workers clean up the spot so they’ll continue to be cool with us taking over.
Pro tips: Re-up on drinks and snacks at the Duane Reade across the street from the steps or end the session with a fatboy meal at Shake Shack down the block. For pizza fiends there an extremely proper Pizzeria 2 blocks away. Health conscious lads can also hit up the Greenmarket on Saturdays.