Uptown will get its first modern skate park this fall, currently under construction beneath the Hamilton Bridge.
The city is moving forward with plans to build the largest skateboard park in the five boroughs — and finally end a longstanding headache for Washington Heights residents.
The park, which will be ready by the fall, officials say, was designed by Steve Rodriguez, New York’s skateboarding king and founder of skateshop 5boro, to give local sk8terboys something to do beyond annoying their neighbors.
“The reality is more kids today take up skateboarding in the United States than take up baseball,” said Rodriguez, who also mentioned the lack of skating plazas for uptowners.
Currently skaters say their neighborhood has plenty of good places to skate, but those spots are subway grates, benches, and hospital steps, where the daredevils are frequently kicked out.
The skate park is intended to create a safe, local community space designed for kids to hang out and practice. It’s also the only skate park in the five boroughs that has enough lighting to permit skaters to stay longer during the shorter fall and winter days.
“It’s good they’re building a place for them,” said Consuelo Garcia, 43, a Washington Heights mom. “It’ll keep them out of trouble and places they aren’t supposed to skate.”
Washington Heights and Inwood locals currently have to trek to Riverside Park on 108th St. and Riverside Dr. if they want a legal spot to kickflip and grind.
The closest Manhattan skate plaza with longer hours is all the way down on W. 23rd St. Chelsea Piers.
“They’re always investing downtown, it’s good that they’re finally bring some of that up here and giving the kids something to do,” said Roberto Fausto, a retired mailman who grew up in Washington Heights.
Highbridge Park, which already features Manhattan’s only legal mountain biking paths, accommodated the new, large granite and brick plaza with little problem.
“So much of that park is underutilized and neglected,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates. “It’ll bring more people to the park and it’s a great location for it.”
By Laignee Barron / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS