Spots: Tribeca & West Village
The back of Union was a crucial part of 2000s New York skateboard lore. The city remodeled the back of the park in 2008, removing the skataeable obstacles it had and taking the spot’s irreplaceable culture along with it.
The 16-year-olds who would remain there every night until sunrise, scheming on a way to get booze, lost a place they once called home.
The ravers relocated to the front of the park.
The goths receded into darkness.
The array of petty criminals dispersed.
The scattered party flyers and McDonald’s wrappers no longer covered the ground.
The black market of overpriced C-list skate goods was dismantled. (Seriously, if you needed a new set of wheels at 11:30 P.M. on a Thursday in 2002, you could buy them here. They’d probably be lime green Darkstar wheels, but still.)
Now, the back is the headquarters of 38-year-olds learning to ride l*ngb**rds.
If you want to seem dated and skate the front, know that it is largely off limits whenever it is warm outside until late night, and during November and December, when they set up a holiday fair.
People pretend to skate the front mainly because there are a lot of girls walking by. Nobody actually has any fun doing it, because you end up dodging pedestrians at any reasonable time of day. Terrian-wise, there are a few curved curbs, one high ledge at the very top that has not been waxed since 2001, two sets of four and some high rails over which you can skate into a handicap ramp.
Bust — ♦♦♦♦♦: There is always a police presence in the park, but many officers will not hassle you for skating here, even though there are “No Skateboarding” signs posted. Just don’t rule out a cop giving you a summons or confiscating your board if he chooses to go out of his way. The park is also often barricaded off after midnight.
Location: Located on 14th Street and Broadway. Take the 4, 5, 6, N, R or L to 14th Street – Union Square and walk outside.
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