This past year, New York City has been blessed with a massive increase in plazas built for skateboarding. Places with ledges, stairs, and gaps, as opposed to a few wooden launch ramps and a crummy quarterpipe. These plazas have provided us with a place to skate, practice our tricks, and learn new ones all in the context of a modern street skating environment, and not just some box on top of some decently-paved concrete. We hope that the City of New York continues to build these plazas so our creativity may flourish.
While it may be difficult to decide which plaza to head out to, which ones are near completion, and which ones yield the most fun, Quartersnacks has constructed a guide to the four main street plazas that have popped up in New York over the past year.
Where: 29th Street and Sixth Avenue.
Terrain: Behind this luxury high-rise apartment building (Called “Beatrice,” oh the blasphemy!) / fingers-crossed-that-this-“NoMad”-shit-actually-works investment, is Manhattan’s new best ledge over stairs. It’s frontside for regular / backside for goofy, about as high as Ziegfeld, and it extends a solid eight feet past the three steps. Perfect, polished marble with just the right edge on it, and absolutely flawless ground. Speaking of Ziegfeld, the opposite side of the ledge runs over a handicap ramp and gradually ascends in height. Wait, it gets better. There are two of them in a row.
What are the chances of not getting kicked out in three seconds?: Pretty high, if not guaranteed. For now at least. Due to the fact that the place is still under construction and fenced off, there has been a guard standing outside at pretty much all hours. Otherwise, we can hope that things manifest themselves in the vein of the former 57th Street luxury-highrise-bordering ledges that were, by some miracle, not a bust. (Until they got knobbed, and now destroyed.) It’s probably destined to be a one-hitter-quitter spot though, and that’s a shame for the first “real” spot in the entire neighborhood.
What about the chances of them knobbing it beyond all recognition?: Not very likely. They don’t really care about skateboards in this part of Manhattan. They’re more about “wholesale to the public” businesses specializing in packs of acrylic socks, and guido clubs with an inferiority complex to the “high end” guido clubs further west.
Where: 43rd Street and Sixth Avenue.
Terrain: The reincarnation of Manhattan’s second favorite ledge over stairs (first obviously being the Pyramid Ledges) is a sight to see. What was once a fairly desolate environment has been replenished with and entire southern section of black marble benches leading up to the five. The ledge over stairs itself is slightly lower and made out of black marble. It’s just a shame that its former, grey and tan version is getting its last bit of burn in a TV spot for some Harrison Ford Working Girl 2 vehicle as oppossed to a skate video. Zered killed it like six or seven years ago, so maybe it doesn’t actually matter.
What are the chances of not getting kicked out in three seconds?: At first, this place will inevitably fall under the same general rules we came to expect when they re-did the Fuji Plaza, which translates to a guard outside at all times. That factor will start to wane if we ever get to a place of worrying about it. Which brings us to the next point…
What about the chances of them knobbing it beyond all recognition?: Really high. They hate skateboarders here, or at least the moronic, unintelligible and outright mean security guard with the German Shepherd does.
Where: 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway.
Terrain: This plaza has been under construction forever, and they’re just starting to unveil what was behind the blue wooden planks that seem to have been there since 2005. As of now, we’re looking at a four stair with a marble bench maybe twelve feet after it, a few other marble blocks here and there, and a to-be-determined verdict on the upstairs portion. Either way, it’s better than the steep marble wallrides and borderline unskateable benches that were here prior to the renovation.
What are the chances of not getting kicked out in three seconds?: You’re more likely to skate here than any of the other Midtown spots on this list, due to the fact that the security window might not face the better portions of the spot. Either way, they don’t seem too likely to pull what they did at those wedge ramps cutting through the Bank of America Tower across the street with the twenty-five-hour Haitian skateboard patrol. (Hey, maybe it’s just easier to not build a block of wooden ramps?)
What about the chances of them knobbing it beyond all recognition?: They probably don’t care enough. The previous version of the park got locked up at night, and during the day, it just looked too depressing to sit in and pretend like you’re enjoying your lunch, so it mainly housed urine-odor-emitting junkies. They don’t seem to interested in putting fences in front of it, and who knows when the previous version of the spot was built, so that whole fence thing might’ve just been a measure against nocturnal activity that spilled over from Times Square in its less friendlier days.
Where: Down the hill from C.I.A. Ledge.
Terrain: Before, all that was here was the curb Harold backside noseblunted in his Skypager part, and a few poorly set-up benches that refused to grind no matter how much wax you put on them. It’s kind of hard to tell what they’re putting in place beyond a few ledges that may or may not have rails affixed to their edges, and a marble platform looking thing, but the material all looks better than the black granite-like junk they had before. If anything, it’ll be like the new decade’s version of The Sphere, in that it’s place with a few, low, fun things to skate and nothing too fancy to film tricks on. Unless you’re filming for a Quartersnacks clip or something.
What are the chances of not getting kicked out in three seconds?: It’s probably going to have a consistent red-cap downtown patrol around it, they’re not stupid. If not, and if there are actually things to skate here, the spot will be a natural convening point for everyone skateboarding south of Chambers Street on weekends.
What about the chances of them knobbing it beyond all recognition?: Once again, they’re not stupid, but it’s more likely that there won’t be anything too great for skating here, in order to follow suit in tradition with the spot’s previous version than actually having to resort to drastic measures of knobbing things.
[After-the-fact disclaimer: This post is not “blowing up” any sort of spots. All of these are on main streets, in heavily-skated areas, and there is no such thing as a secret spot anymore, so don’t even bother complaining. Any potential keywords that could tip off Google Alerts that may be set up and acted upon unfavorably on our end were also omitted. Go to the Tribeca park or something.]