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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Under the Bridge: Skate Park

Over the weekend, I passed by the skate park under the Alexander Hamilton Bridge again. It is a great space in an otherwise derelict part of Highbridge Park.

There is nothing novel, of course, about using residual space below a bridge as a skate park. I have memories from my youth decades ago of the skate park under the Burnside Bridge. Nearer by, the Brooklyn Banks famously occupied an area below the Brooklyn Bridge before New York City closed it for a bridge rehabilitation project.

A solution doesn't have to be original to be effective. Areas below bridges generally remain difficult spaces: generally unattractive for most uses by accessible enough to draw undesirable activities. Meanwhile, cities typically lack enough places for their youths to skate. This area in Highbridge Park had been somewhat desolate and trash-filled before the New York State Department of Transportation disrupted it to rebuild ramps for the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. In the process, they created New York City's largest skate park. It has been refreshing to see the improvement to this part of the park and the opportunities it provides to the skaters who drop in here.