Locals Are Sick of Skateboarders Grinding the Pier 35 Esplanade

Posted on: April 14th, 2015 at 9:22 am by
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The Economic Development Corporation committed a surprising blunder with its design for the East River promenade near Rutgers Slip, at the entrance to Pier 35. And skateboarders are taking total advantage of the oversight.

Upon its debut last year, the free open-air activity center beneath the FDR Drive quickly gained favor with the locals. Especially the exercise equipment and basketball court. However, the design didn’t include the proper infrastructural deterrent to prevent skaters from grinding up the joint. And that’s precisely what happened.

In rather short order, the spot became the perfect alternative to an always-crowded Coleman Park just up the street. Indeed, the combination of smooth pavers, fewer people, and long, flat street furniture proved a powerful welcome mat.

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Those who benefit the most from the infrastructure, though – families older residents living in the housing complexes bordering the waterfront – are now being driven from the recreational area. Blame the so-called intimidation factor and fear for safety attributed to the constant skating.

Residents in the surroundings gave the EDC an earful during the Parks subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3 last month. The concerns were a tangent to the overall discussion about the monumental delays of Pier 35. Community issues mainly centered on the conflicts of use. “A hinderence to the momentum of the park” tiptoe around the ollies. Complaints about the lack of respect.

For the record, there is signage, but it works just the same as “stay off the grass.” Meaning, not at all.

The issue of skateboarders on the promenade is calendared for dedicated discussion this week with the Parks committee, specifically the request for “increased enforcement and design changes to prevent skateboarding at Pier 35.”

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