Exploring NYC on four wheels

A day trip to New York City presents skateboarders with new spots to conquer.

When visiting a new city, one wants to take in the sights it has to offer. The problem with being a skateboarder is that you see 50 things to skate along the way.

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BRAD LARRISON TTN While skaters in Philadelphia can grind the coping of the “peanut bowl” at FDR Skatepark located below I-95, traveling to New York offers challenging alternatives.

You’ve killed all the spots around your house, the park is full of familiar faces, the same tricks get landed on the same ramp, and you’re still aching for more. With the mild-weathered months approaching, the horizon of new terrain is just a road trip away.

Philadelphia is great for skateboarders – skateparks are springing up around the city and marble ledges dominate the downtown area. But Philly is also small, full of security guards and has a cracked and rough terrain.

Anyone who’s ever skated in Philadelphia knows it can be a headache, and sometimes you need to leave home and seek out new locations and challenges.

“I love getting out of Philly for the day and trying to find spots in other places,” said Kevin Reinhartz, a 2010 Temple alumnus and Philadelphia resident. “Just being in a city like New York makes every trick you do seem crisper and cleaner.”

If you have a big crew and a car, it may be worth it to pool your funds, but you have to incorporate bridge tolls and parking meters. Usually, the best method is by bus. Regardless, you’ll want to leave early because after you get there, you’re going to want to skate until you can’t feel your legs.

A day trip of skating in a city like New York can be fruitful if you have a plan. If you leave thinking you’re going to be able to skate all the famous spots you’ve been dreaming about for years, think again.

New York is a big place, and to optimize a day there, you have to have some kind of agenda.
First, pick a corner of the city, and decide to conquer it. If you spread out your spots too far, you’ll spend most of the day on the subway watching uncovered skateboarding gems pass by.

A good place to start is Central Park. Not only will you be instantly absorbed into the rich, diverse culture New York has to offer, but it’s a great spot to warm up. There are endless hills to get the blood pumping, manual pads and benches in the area known as “Alice In Wonderland” and shapely rocks that act as great wall-rides. From Central Park, pick a direction and skate accordingly.

The Upper West Side has a lot to offer. If you make your way to the north end of Central Park, you are immediately faced with four long, buttery, marble ledges.

The walkway is a cut through for an office building, but you’ll experience little-to-no hostility when it comes to the men in uniform. Foot traffic, cabs, cops and tour buses are your main obstacles to avoid, so the Upper West Side – especially on a weekday – will be your safest bet.

From 110th Street, proceed toward the river. On this street there will be a number of spots, including Morningside Park, which serves a challenging series of stairs.

Once 110th Street meets Riverside Park, there will be a skatepark that is impossible to miss with its bright blue ramps. If you still have daylight and want to make moves, skate south down the river – there are tons of hidden delights waiting to be skated.

Dan Dorr can be reached at dan.dorr@temple.edu.

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