In skateboarding, the California and Los Angeles origin story of DogTown but we all know (or maybe you didn’t) that skateboarding wouldn’t be where it is today without New York and the East coast. Street skateboarding found a home in New York and New York City, catapulting the cultural incubation where skateboarding meets fashion, photography, street art, and various forms of media. So much so, Lower Manhattan is sometimes referred to as DogTown East.
Skateboarding owes so much to New York and New York city, we couldn’t wait to create the most in depth guide to New York City Skateboarding. We wanted to give any new skaters out there a great tool to learn about New York City skateboarding as well; everything from Skate Schools, Skate Parks, the history of New York City Skateboarding, and all things that will make your New York skate trip or New York City skate origin story unique and spectacular.
In this article we’ll be going over:
- Best Skate Parks in New York Suburbs and New York City
- Famous NYC Skateboarders
- Fun Facts about New York and NYC
- NYC Skateboard Laws and Regulations
- GOSKATE in NYC
- Local Skate Schools in New York Suburbs and New York City
As a bonus, GOSKATE will also include skateparks, skate schools, and skate lessons for New Jersey and its suburbs
Best Skateparks in New York City
New York City is a concrete jungle but not everyone wants to skate through traffic and heavy pedestrian streets. The City of New York has done a terrific job of creating world class skateparks fit for all types of skateboarders and the local skate communities in each borough (and even neighboring New Jersey) have taken matters into their own hands when needed.
Here are some of the best skateparks in New York City and New Jersey Suburbs.
LES Coleman Skatepark in New York City is one of the most famous skateparks in the world. Some have been known to call LES the Venice Skatepark of the East Coast, with an even more vibrant and core skate community. The park itself consists of a great mix of street obstacles and quarter pipes to promote flow and lines. Its most recognizable obstacle is a launch ramp that blasts skaters over a big red apple, the slogan associated with New York City.
Astoria Skate Plaza off Hoyt Ave in Astoria is one of the coolest skateparks in the world, let alone the New York and New Jersey area. With its circular design, plaza style construction and obstacles, the Astoria Skate Plaza is a street skaters paradise. Ledges, hubbas, 3-stairs, and surrounded by a park and the bay, this skatepark is one of the most beautiful skateparks in the area. While it might not be the most beginner friendly in terms of being a street plaza geared to skaters who already skate the streets, go early in the morning or book a one on one lesson to ensure you and your loved ones have ample space and confidence.
Pier 62 SkatePark is an awesome skatepark to say the least. With some of the best transition skating offered in New York City, this skatepark is worth the commute from neighboring suburbs. While it might not be the most beginner friendly skatepark, if you’re an experienced skater or someone who loves to watch high level skating, the Pier 62 Skatepark at the Chelsea Piers is for you.
The Maloof Skate Plaza in Corona New York in the Queens borough reminds us of something out of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games. With so many obstacles in one space and the backdrop of a stadium that looks like a circus, this 16,000 square foot skatepark is the focal point for this concrete public complex. With a variety of stairs, rails, banks, and ledges of various length, the Maloof Skate Plaza in Corona Queens is a great breeding ground for skateboarders to hone their skills and passion. The skatepark has an emphasis on street and is known to host some of the best skate contests in the New York area.
Tompkins Square Park
Tompkins Square Park is one of the raddest skateparks in the United States. What began as a skate DIY in an abandoned basketball court has since become one of the most iconic skate parks in New York City. Known for its simplicity of trash cans, ledges, flat bars, and any obstacle a skater might tow with their friends, this skatepark continues the legacy of DIY skateparks in New York City’s history. Located near Tompkins Square Dog Run off East 10th Street.
Skate Park Adress: East 10th Street and Avenue A Tompkins Square Park, NY 10009
It’s not everyday skaters can skateboard at their favorite skatepark with the backdrop of the New York City skyline. But the Hoboken local skate crew gets to enjoy one of the most scenic views in skateboarding. This skatepark isn’t the newest skatepark but that’s not a bad thing. With classic obstacles like quarter pipes, mini ramps, half pipes and all made of prefabricated wood and limonite, this skatepark is one of the most unique and fun skateparks in the New York and New Jersey area. We’ve taught some awesome skaters from Hoboken over the years and cherish our relationship with them.
Edison New Jersey has a skatepark that seems like something out of the 1980s but that doesn’t mean the skatepark isn’t a breeding ground for innovative skateboarders. Prefabricated to survive the winter, the Edison New Jersey skatepark has a host of rails, spines, funboxes, and quarter pipes for a healthy flow of fun skating. We also have had the privilege of teaching a bunch of young skaters in Edison New Jersey, some of our oldest friends are here and we’ve watched them grow as skaters and people. Edison New Jersey Skateprak reminds us why we got into the skate lesson business.
Skateparks are most effective in communities where there’s tons of kids to skate them and the same is true for River Avenue skatepark in the Bronx. This skatepark is located in the South Bronx and was built in 2010. Right off the B and D train stops off 157, this skatepark is one of the most accessible skateparks in the New York Area. With the skatepark being off the 157 stop, this skatepark is often referred to as “157” skatepark.
Best Skateparks in these Nearby Suburbs
We know not every suburb of New York City and New Jersey have a skatepark so we went ahead and listed some of the most popular neighborhoods for skateboarding complete with a list below of some of the skateparks in the area for you to consider. Just follow the links to see which skateparks are closest to you.
Some of the most beautiful homes are in Larchmont New York, so it’s only natural that some of the most beautiful skateparks are nearby. But the community actually isn’t calling a skatepark of its own home right now. But don’t worry, we’ve linked below the best skateparks in the area for any skaters in Larchmont New York.
If you live in or around Springville New York, lucky you! You have a great skatepark previously known as World of Wheels at Heritage Park, now located at 10385 Rt.219 Springville New York 14141.
Brookeville is an awesome bucolic village on Long Island’s Nassau County but what makes it even more special is the skate parks nearby you can add hours of productive fun on a given day.
We knew we had to put a suburb of Westchester County on this list and with an easy train ride into New York City, there’s plenty of awesome skateparks for you to check out:
Short Hills, NJ
If you’re in Short Hills New Jersey in Essex County, we’re sure you know about famous billionaire neighbor Peter Kellogg,but did you know about these neighboring skateparks for you and your loved ones to GOSKATE?
Sands Point, NY
Another great town in Nassau County of Long Island, if you’re in the Sands Point community here are some skateparks for you to check out:
Riverside Skate Park, New York – Riverside Dr &, W 108th St, New York 10025
Pier 62 Skate Park, Chelsea Piers, New York City – 143 11th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Maloof Skate Plaza, Corona – Astral Fountain Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona, New York 11368
Astoria Skate Park, Astoria – Hoyt Ave S, Astoria, NY 11102
Tribeca Skatepark, Tribeca – West Street &, N Moore St, New York, NY 10013
ROC City Skatepark, Rochester – 241 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14604
Yonkers Skatepark – 348 Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers, NY 10710
Springville NY – 10385 Rt.219 Springville New York 14141
McCarren Skatepark– 61 Bayard St. Brooklyn NY 11222
River Avenue SkatePark – 100 East 157th St. Bronx New York 10451
Cooper Skatepark Brooklyn – Cooper Park Sharon Street &, Olive St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
Most Iconic Skate Spots in New York City
Newly Renovated Brooklyn Banks
At the time of this article, the Brooklyn Banks is set to open June 21st, 2023, as a newly renovated skateboarding landmark and skatepark recognized by the City of New York. How cool is that? The famous skate spot was once the most recognizable skate spot in New York City, waves of bricks created a surf like atmosphere with handrails and stair sets all around. Nestled beneath a subway bridge, skateboarders acted like a natural police force for the area but after the NYPD cracked down on the spot, skateboarding was made illegal there. Quickly, the area became overrun with the unhoused and the city regretted their decision. Now, the City of New York and skateboarding as a whole celebrates the renovation and reopening of this historic New York City Landmark.
Skate Spot Address: Parallel to Frankfort Street, under the Brooklyn Bridge on/off ramps between Police Plaza and Pace University.
NYC Pyramid Ledges
What seems like something perfectly designed for street skaters, the NYC pyramid ledges have been in skate videos since the early 2000s. Unfortunately these iconic pyramid ledges are rumored to be on the chopping block after decades of iconic skate tricks going down. Located just off the busy Wall Street near the East River, these NYC Pyramid ledges are not the easiest skate spot to get a clip but they are definitely worth checking out and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Check out this video with Marc Succui and Jenkem explaining the evolution of the NYC Pyramid Ledges.
City Hall Hubba
Luckily for skateboarding the skate spots located on public spaces are the most likely to stick around and government buildings and public parks are on the top of that scenario. The City Hall Hubba is a great example and while the actual hubba is generally more of a pro skater spot, the surrounding park and area make it still worthwhile for beginner skaters to come here and practice flatground. Who knows? Maybe you’ll run into Tysahwn Jones, who absolutely destroyed this kinked L shaped hubba for his Thrasher SOTY part. Check out this video of a local skater and his friend cruising to City Hall Hubba and a few other iconic NYC spots.
City Hall “Drop”
Right across the street from the iconic City Hall Hubba is the arguably more iconic City Hall Drop. Skating through this spot looks like something out of the old roman empire, as the skaters emerge from within the large pillars onto a ledge that shoots them out onto a bank. The bank then flattens out to another shoot out 6 foot drop, making it one of the most unique combination spots in NYC. Skaters can do a grind to drop, a flip in manny to drop, or some do all three. This spot is worth checking out if you’re already at the City Hall Hubba, but also if you want to learn more before your trip you can watch this video below.
Famous New York City Skaters
As you will read from this list, some of the most influential skateboarders of all time are from New York City, and a host of celebrities who are known to show a passion for skateboarding.
Harold Hunter is arguably the most famous skater to come out of New York City and partly it’s because unfortunately the legend is no longer with us after passing in 2006. His incredibly stylish skateboarding and overall one-of-a-kind personality, led him to land a role in Larry Clarks 1995 film Kids, where he played the role of Hunter. Currently, there is a foundation set up in his honor, The Harold Hunter Foundation, who raises money for various positive causes and puts on events across the US in remembrance of the Legend.
Jerry Seinfield is one of the most famous New Yorkers of all time and we shouldn’t have to explain why. But just in case, there was a famous video circulating on various social media channels where the famous comedian and actor praised skateboarders for being some of the best, toughest, and most productive kids on the playground. He applauded skateboarders for training their skills and for learning through failure how to bring an idea to fruition even when you have to start from scratch. Here is the video!
There exists a core group of skateboarders who anoint Mark Gonzalez, aka. THE GONZ, as the first modern day skateboarder. But what exactly does that mean? Mark was the first skateboarder to ever boardslide a handrail and strictly focus on street obstacle style skating. Additionally, he prioritized video parts over skate competitions and played a heavy role in any company he was sponsored by when designing clothes, boards, or anything with his name on it. His quirky personality and great artwork is a reflection of his skateboarding, and skateboarding owes this famous New Yorker infinite praise for his contributions.
Tyshwan Jones has arguably become the face of New York City skateboarding after winning his second Thrasher Magazine, Skater of the Year Award. Only a handful of skateboarders have ever won the award once, but Tyshawn joins the rare company of winning the award twice–joining Danny Way, Chris Cole and Eric Koston. He is also the first person of color to win the award twice and continues to put out some of the best video parts the skate world has ever seen.
Another skateboarder we have to say Rest In Peace to, Kieth “Huf” Hufnagel is one of the most influential skateboarders regardless of coast. Kieth created the brand HUF, which sponsored skateboarders like Dylan Rieder, and to this day still operates as a streetwear clothing brand. Kieth had the rare privilege of being born in NYC and growing up in SF came back to the coast often to a thriving east coast scene. He was a true bridge of east and west coast skating and the skateworld still mourns his passing and entrepreneurial spirit.
While many skateboarders, even from the East Coast, eventually move out to California to turn pro, Zered Bassett always stayed true to his roots and never left New York City. This is partly because he was a central player in the east coast brand, Zoo York, which with his style and contributions rose quickly to one of skateboarding’s most celebrated brands. While Zoo York might not be the same as it once was, Zered Bassett is still an amazing skateboarder who is celebrated for his unique style and powerful tricks.
Steve Rodriguez is considered the Godfather of New York City skateboarding but guess what? He’s actually from New Jersey. But just like many skaters in the New York, New York City and New Jersey area, they all flock to the popular skate spots to skate together. Steve Rodriguez is considered to be the Mayor of New York City Skateboarding, starting in the 80-90s and still going heavy in the streets today.
Fun Facts About Skateboarding in New York City
Here are some fun facts about skateboarding in New York City!
- Lower Manhattan is referred to as DogTown East
- The first handrail ever skated was by Mark Gonzales in New York
- Skateboarding first began appearing in New York City in the 1970s in Central Park, where kids would skate their boards in all types of ways.
- Skateboarding was first established as a NYC counterculture and crews came to form. Many of these crews were hostile towards one another and marked their own territories.
- The epicenter of NYC skateboarding first focused around the Alice in Wonderland statue by East 74th Street.
- Many of the first skate spots were DIY spots built at temporary construction sites. Unlike California, skaters had to make space for themselves.
- The first skateshop didn’t appear until 1978, City Skateboards opened on East 83th Street and ran by father-sons Kevin and Mark Levine.
- The first official skate contest was held in New Lincoln High School at 70th and Lexington and featured a high jump contest.
- The first skatepark was unnamed and was in Queens. Then another one opened in Riverdale with an empty pool at the last stop off the #1 line (242nd street) known infamously as the Deathbowl.
- 1979 Brooklyn Banks were founded and New York City had its new incubation skate spot for decades, producing some of the most iconic NYC skate media to this day.
- Brooklyn Banks were such a cultural hub, artists like Keith Haring were known to stop by along with Basquiat to do their thing next to skaters.
- A few skaters came together and founded “Zoo York” the most iconic skate company out of NYC with its name being a nod to the 1970s skate crew.
- Zoo York featured street art and graffiti on its t-shirts and merchandise and it was largely considered the tipping point for the birth of street wear fashion, now a $300 billion industry.
- In 1994, a tiny skate shop started printing on boards the word SUPREME and as we all know, the rest is history.
- Washington Park was the skate epicenter of skateboarding in the 1990s and was a huge influence to the famous movie “Kids” that was shot there in 1995 starring famous skateboarder Harold Hunter. Written by Harmony Korine, who met director Larry Clark while skating in Washington Square Park.
- By the year 2000, a skatepark was in every brough from McCarren Park in Brooklyn to Rockaway Park in Queens, to Iver Ave Park across the street from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
- Coleman Park, also known as LES, was first installed in 2005 with some ramps and ledges. But the full design came in 2012, with the help of NYC Skate legend Steve Rodriguez.
- Jenkem Magazine, one of the most celebrated magazines in skateboarding, holds its headquarters in New York City.
- Tyshawn Jones, is considered the face of New York City skateboarding and is the only skater of color to win Thrasher’s Skater of the Year award twice!
- Although it snows in New York, New York City isn’t really known for its indoor skateparks. That is because skaters have an unwavering commitment to maintaining the street aspects of skateboarding all year round.
- In 2009, the Brooklyn Banks were debricked and thanks to Tony Hawk and his Skatepark Foundation, the banks are officially back open and remain the epicenter of New York City Skateboarding.
- New York City is home to Supreme Skate Shop, one of the most influential skate shops that in creating its own streetwear branding, became one of the most recognizable brands in the entire world.
New York City Skateboard Laws and Regulations
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Title VII. Article 34: Operation of bicycle and play devices
Section 1230. These laws apply to skating on public roads, on private roads open to public traffic, and on all bike and skate trails.
Section 1231. You have similar rights and duties as are held by the driver of a motor vehicle. In other words, skating on public roads (excluding expressways, interstates and certain other roads) is legal but you must honor all traffic laws (e.g., obey traffic lights, no wrong-way skating, etc.).
Section 1234. If there is a bike/skate lane, you must use it. If not, you must skate as far to the right side of the street as possible so as to not interfere with traffic. If you are skating in a group, you may not skate more than two abreast. You must skate single file if there is other traffic that wishes to pass by you.
Section 1238. Any child under 14 must wear a helmet when skating. This is a $50 offense, the ticket being issued to the skater’s parent/guardian. When skating at night, you must wear a jacket or other clothing with reflective material.
Section 1240. “Hit-and-run skating” that causes physical injury is a violation.
Section 1241. “Hit-and-run skating” that causes serious physical injury is a Class B misdemeanor.
In the Spring of 1996, the city council of New York City passed Local Law 1996/403, making skateboarding recklessly illegal. This was defined as any skating that threatened the health or possessions of another person. The fine was $50-$100 and also extended to banning skateboarding on sidewalks for anyone over the age of 14. Fortunately for skateboarders, the provision was removed.
GOSKATE in NYC – Skate Schools & Skate Lessons
Are you or your loved ones a resident of any of these cities?
Upper East Side
Battery Park City
Upper West Side
DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
Then we have some GREAT news for you. Would you like your very own customized, in-person lesson with Pro instructors? GOSKATE has these areas specifically ready to roll with the most trained and professional skate instructors in New York. Our instructors have been teaching for decades and can craft a personalized lesson planned to fit you and your child’s skate goals. We guarantee mastering the foundations of skateboarding in your first three lessons.
GOSKATE Lessons in NYC (& New Jersey)
GOSKATE has a long-standing relationship with the East Coast skate community, teaching thousands of young people and their loved ones how to skateboard. We especially have the privilege of teaching kids from the New Jersey Suburbs and New York suburbs, with dozens of positive reviews, referrals, and returning students.
Our GOSKATE instructors from NYC are some of the most highly skilled skateboarders in the New York area, many who grew up skating with NYC legends and or are retired pro skaters. Check out our GOSKATE instructors in your east coast area and get you and your loved ones rolling in the right direction
Have you ever wanted to master the foundations of skateboarding or improve your skate abilities in one week or less? Well if you’re in the Long Island area, you’re in luck. The Long Island Skateboard School has been teaching in the Long Island area since 2002, with 85 percent of skaters being under the age of 18, we’re teaching the next generation of New York skateboarders. Who knows, maybe one of them will be an Olympic Pro one day!
The New York Skateboard School
The New York City Skateboard School has been teaching in NYC, in all five boroughs since 2009, thousands of lessons for both kids and adults. Skate instructors will come to your driveway and teach you the foundations of skateboarding or they can take you out and show you the best skateparks in New York City. Which brings us to our next point.