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Brooklyn Skate Garden faces opposition in Prospect Heights after mayor's promise to build 4 skate parks in city

Brooklyn Skate Garden faces opposition in Prospect Heights
Brooklyn Skate Garden faces opposition in Prospect Heights 02:09

NEW YORK -- There's a common complaint from skaters around New York City: not enough space to shred.

"Skaters are predominantly skating in urban locations, under bridges, in industrial environments and skateboarders are not really given the same privileges and rights as soccer kids, baseball kids, kids that get to play in parks," says Loren Michelle, Director of the Brooklyn Skate Garden and the Pablo Ramirez Foundation, which helps to fund projects related to skating, art, and music.

Michelle is also the mother of Pablo Ramirez, a professional skateboarder who died in 2019. The foundation was created in his honor.

At his State of the City address in January, Mayor Eric Adams announced a partnership with Tony Hawk's The Skatepark Project to address the need for more skate spaces.

"A plan to build and refurbish four major skate parks right here in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. A real victory for our young people," Adams said.

One of those is slated for Mount Prospect Park, a hilltop green space across the street from the larger and more famous Prospect Park.

"We are connected and near the Brooklyn Museum, the public library. There's great transit access," explains Ya-Ting Liu, Chief Public Realm Officer for the City of New York.

While there is no official design yet, the Brooklyn Skate Garden displays images of a vision-board, showing skaters weaving through green landscapes, a shared space with park-goers.

"It's an inclusive worldclass skate park, but it's also a place for gardening, art and culture," Michelle says.

"This park, Mount Prospect Park, is about 340,000 square feet. And the future skate garden will comprise about 12% of the footprint of this park," Liu explains.

The plan does not call for a change to the entire park, but that's no consolation to Hayley Gorenberg, who lives across the street and co-founded a group called Friends of Mount Prospect Park.

"Brooklyn in particular, is starved for greenspace, and it doesn't make sense to pave any of our green space," she explains.

Opponents, like Gorenberg, agree there's a big need for quality facilities for skaters across the borough. Still, they say paving over large swaths of green space is not the answer.

"There are numerous paved areas around here to be explored and considered," Gorenberg adds.

Michael J. Sclafani runs Park Deli, a florist and skate shop a few blocks from the park. He says the plan is welcomed by many kids and families, including his own son who is a skater.

"It adds to the cultural institutions of this neighborhood," he says. "There's an idea to put a new type of skate park forward, a skate garden. It's never been done before, it would be the first one in the world."

The public engagement process has already begun.

Brooklyn Skate Garden estimates a ribbon cutting will take place in 2026.

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