BAY RIDGE — A trio of skate aficionados have teamed up to revamp a little-known Brooklyn skate spot and reclaim a forgotten piece of the city's skateboarding history.
Built in 2001, Millenium Skate Park is wedged between Owl's Head Park and the freeway in Bay Ridge. It was designed by Andy Kessler, a prominent thrasher and graffiti artist who has been called "the catalyst for skateboarding in New York City."
The park fell into disrepair over the years, but has attracted a dedicated following who are partnering with the Parks Department to revamp it with shred-worthy upgrades.
"The goal is to bring the skate park back to the community," said Harlem resident Ian Clarke, of the NYC Skate Coalition. "And another part of the goal is for the [Parks Department] to understand how skateboarding has been developing in New York. It’s no longer just teenage boys — it's attorneys, doctors, scientists. It's a healthy group."
Clarke and two others — Blake Sandberg, who lives in Park Slope and runs the one-man skate boarding company Severed Leg Productions, and George Picasso, a devoted skate dad to his 11-year-old son Georgie, known as Georgie the Brooklyn Destroyer, in Bay Ridge — make up the Friends of Owl's Head Skatepark. The trio met in on skate scene and have been advocating for repairs and upgrades to the course for the past few months.
Millennium is a transitional skate park with ramps, banks and bowled corners, but it is unique because it is one of the only spots in the city that pairs a squared off bowl and a six-foot deep pool, perfect for carving, Sandberg said.
"It draws people from all over the place," said Sandberg. "The features are unique. It's got its own thing going on."
Last week the Parks Department gave "the beloved space a little extra TLC" by repairing coping on the lip of the pool for a smoother, less injury prone ride, filled in cracks, painted, and chopped foliage drooping dangerously near the course, according to Parks Department spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson and regular skaters.
The repaired coping along the lip of the pool makes for smoother, safer skate sessions. Each dark gray blot is a spot where the Parks Department fixed up the rim. (DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack)
The Friends of Owl's Head Skatepark hope to take that further with a vert ramp and other features dedicated to the park's designer, said George Picasso.
Additionally, parts of the park could use a vibrant concrete paint job to help borders with depth perception as they ride. Scrapping off the white paint and restoring the sea green tile along the rim of the pool could also help with that, explained Sandberg.
Millennium may be tucked away in a sleepy corner of Brooklyn, but it's ridership is rising as transition skateboarding — performing tricks on ramps or other inclines — makes a comeback.
"This can be a beautiful thing for the community," said Picasso.