Thrashers shred fresh pavement at new skate park
Extreme sports get support in Hudson County
by Rory Pasquariello
Reporter staff writer
Jul 06, 2016 | 5172 views | 0 0 comments | 192 192 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A skater clears a kicker gap at 1st Street Skate Park in Bayonne.
A skater clears a kicker gap at 1st Street Skate Park in Bayonne.
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Skaters rarely see dedicated parks, or at least good ones. Before the opening of 1st Street Skate Park in Bayonne on June 21, skaters were relegated to what was essentially a parking lot with a few ramps – a far cry from the real street features of today’s park. The Bayonne Bridge is only a few hundred feet away, enhancing the park’s “street” style. The park includes a concrete mini pipe, four-set staircase, and enough rails to keep grind-happy skaters from tearing up private property.

The skate community doesn’t care about the paint job on that new park bench, or the “no trespassing” signs at commercial plazas that to skaters appear designed for the sole purpose of shredding. Skaters need a safe haven, and 1st Street Park is just that.

As soon as the cement dries

“It wasn’t even hard. I’m just being scared,” said Infinite Mahmoud, 16, after his umpteenth failed attempt at a kick flip to board slide (That’s when the rider flips the board on its nose-tail axis, then catches it mid-air, landing sideways on a rail).He confidently yells “Right now!” before dropping in each run. His friend follows with a camera to document Infinite’s triumph when he finally lands it. “I’ve landed it on small rails but this is the first official rail,” Mahmoud confessed.

A Bayonne kid named Tim lives two blocks away from the park. “I was skating this before it was open,” he said, “as soon as the cement dried.”

Skater Evan Eden, 18, came all the way from Montclair. “They definitely have a better park out here,” he said.“It’s brand new. It’s amazing. It’s probably one of the better ones in Jersey.”

Every skater was excited about various features. Keith Monahan, 22, recently moved to Bayonne from down the shore. “I like the gap right there,” he said, pointing to a kicker gap, which is two opposite-facing ramps about three feet apart. “I like it up here,” he said. “It’s been sick so far. Good thing they opened this park.”

1st Street Park is a street park, meaning its features simulate features from real streets, such as stairs and rails. “Vert” parks feature vertical features, such as half-pipes and bowls, made famous by vert skaters like Tony Hawk, whose foundation gave Jersey City a $25,000 grant to fund the construction of another new Hudson County skate park—Berry Lane Skate Park.

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“They definitely have a better park out here. It’s brand new. It’s amazing. It’s probably one of the better ones in Jersey.” – Evan Eden

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Big things coming

The Berry Lane skate facility is part of the second phase of construction of the recently opened, 17-acre Berry Lane Park on Garfield Avenue in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City and will span approximately 12,000 square feet. The skate park will be the first poured-in-place concrete skate park in Hudson County and one of only a few in the state.

When skaters got word, they were stoked. “I want to do that [expletive],” said Tim. “Is there going to be a wooden halfpipe? We need a bowl. JC would be great.” Another skater chimed in, “It’s Tony Hawk, of course there’s going to be a concrete bowl.”

Berry Lane will, of course, have a concrete bowl along with two three-set staircase rails, hipped quarter pipes, a kicker gap, ledges, and other features, both vert and street.

Even though 1st Street Park “skates perfect,” Infinite Mahmoud said he would look forward to a new vert park in the county. He says he identifies as a street skater, but would like to learn vert better:“I’m trying to be good at everything.”

Rory Pasquariello may be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com or on Twitter: @rory_louis.
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