Skate parks thrive in the Hudson Valley

Eddie Cintron, 16, practices a 360 kickflip on Eddie Cintron, 16, practices a 360 kickflip on a quarter ramp at Yonkers Skate Park. (Oct. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daza

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California may be the birthplace of skateboarding, but there are plenty of places in the Hudson Valley to shred and show your skills. And although summer is over, two indoor parks and several outdoor parks are still welcoming die-hard skaters.

"We cater to beginners and novices and experts," said Daryl Brewster, the owner at Drop In Skate Park in Hillburn. "We have a wide variety of ages that come here from 8 to 40 ... It's a great family activity."

Whether you're a seasoned skater or a newbie who wants to take advantage of the lessons offered at many locations, these parks are sure to let the good times roll.

2nd Nature Skate Park in Peekskill

2nd Nature, an indoor skate park in Peekskill, offers something for skaters of all ages and skill levels (1 Highland Industrial Park, Peekskill; 914-402-4624; 2ntr.com). The park is run by skaters for skaters, an important advantage according to employee Doug Brown. "People who [work here] share that interest [in skating], and when it comes to skate lessons, you want the instructor to have firsthand knowledge," he said.

Instructors offer lessons at 2nd Nature every Saturday morning from 9 to 11. Private lessons can be arranged for $60 per hour. The park also offers outdoor lessons at the New Rochelle skate park, the Yonkers skate park and other locations around Westchester County.

In addition to the jam-packed lesson schedule, the park frequently hosts events and competitions, such as the upcoming SK8-Jam on Saturday, Oct. 27. All entrants in this particular contest must be in costume, and prizes will be awarded for best tricks and best costume.

The park also has a skate shop with locations in Peekskill and Mamaroneck (614 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck; 914-315-1464) that sells the latest gear and even offers a price match guarantee to make sure you get the best deal.

All-day admission to 2nd Nature is $15; 3-hour weekday admission is $12. All skaters must sign a waiver before entering the park, which is open 1-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-10 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Drop In Skatepark in Hillburn

Allowing in-line skates and scooters daily as well as BMX bikers on Wednesdays and Sundays, this two-floor indoor skate arena is perfect for people who want to do more than just skateboard (Building 4E in Hillburn Industrial Park, 143 Rte. 59 E., Hillburn; 845-357-2828; dropinskate.com). Park features include a full street course, a 20 foot wide mini ramp and a quarter pipe.

The park offers introductory skateboarding lessons in summer camp sessions from June through August. They also offer private lessons. Once you've honed your skills, you can enter the weekly "Game of Skate" competition. Held Fridays at 7:30 p.m., all skaters pay $5 to enter the competition and the winner walks away with the money.

Although he prefers the new Coleman Skate Park in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood, Rich Law, a 26-year-old from Hillburn, is a frequent skater at Drop In, too. "[Drop In] is the best indoor spot around," he said on a recent afternoon. "I'm here because it's raining and there's no other place to go."

The skate park also houses the Underground Skate Shop, where you can buy helmets or elbow and knee pads, which are required to skate in the park. They also sell gear like sneakers and backpacks, plus a wide variety of skateboards.

Entry to the park is $15 for skateboards and in-line skaters ($10 on Mondays) and $17 for scooters and BMX riders. Helmet, knee and elbow pads are available for rent. The park is open 3-10 p.m. on Monday and Friday, 3-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, noon-10 p.m. on Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.

Skate Park at Murray's in Yonkers

Catering to street skaters and vert skaters alike, this 7,000-square-foot outdoor park is a rules-free haven for skating enthusiasts (348 Tuckahoe Rd., Yonkers; 914-377-6469; yonkersny.gov). Featuring a quarter pipe, two "hubbies" -- concrete ledges similar to those found in outdoor staircases -- and metal rails, the main draw at the free skate park is the skating bowl, modeled after an eight foot deep in ground swimming pool.

Opened in the spring of 2011 in a space adjacent to the Edward J. Murray Memorial Skating Center, the skate park was designed by Grindline, a design and construction company based out of Seattle, Wash.

"It's basically state-of-the-art," said Steve Loftus, the director of recreation at the Yonkers parks department. "It's a great place to go if you want to learn how to skate."

Eddie Cintron, a 16-year-old from Yonkers, recently practiced 360 kick flips in the park. Despite falling on the concrete several times during his many attempts, Cintron skated aggressively, often impressing his peers with his skills.

"We come here just to have a good time and just hang out with each other," he said. "People we don't know, we get to know them."

In addition to free open skating from dawn to dusk, the venue occasionally hosts events like the Back to School Jamboree show and competition, generally held on National Go Skateboarding Day in June. It's also one of the many locations where 2nd Nature Skate Shop offers lessons.

BMX bikes and scooters are not permitted in the park. Entry is free and the park is open year-round, weather permitting.

Sidney E. Frank Skate Park in New Rochelle

Open five days a week, this outdoor skate park features an on-site attendant and several different ramps (436 5th Ave., New Rochelle; 914-654-2087; newrochelleny.com). All skaters are required to wear helmets when in the park. Any skater younger than 10 must be accompanied by someone 18 years or older. Lessons are offered.

The entrance fee is $5 per day, $75 annually and $50 annually for residents. The park is open from noon to dusk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday from March through November, weather permitting.

Poughkeepsie Skate Park

This outdoor skate park, which overlooks the Hudson River, is open seasonally from June until the end of October (Northern end of Waryas Park, 1 Main St., Poughkeepsie; 845-451-4100; cityofpoughkeepsie.com). Featuring four ramps as well as rails and fly boxes, the park offers something for all levels of skaters.

Entry to the park is $8 per day, $50 for a 10-session pass and only $8 for a residential season pass. It is open from 1-7 p.m. daily from June through October, weather permitting. Helmets are required.

Saugerties Skate Park

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This outdoor skate park, open year-round except in the case of inclement weather, is unsupervised and free to the public (Washington Avenue, Saugerties; 845-430-0259; village.saugerties.ny.us). It is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to dusk.

With Janine Bowen

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