London Planetree Playground is a 10,350 square foot skatepark along Atlantic Avenue, straddling the border between Ozone Park and Woodhaven. Young boys on skateboards jump over brick embankments and slide down stair railings. This park has its share of onlookers, but even on a weekday, it is not crowded.
At the time of the $1.6 million renovations, London Planetree Playground consisted of an asphalt meadow used as a baseball field amidst a playground, basketball and handball courts. On the other hand, two blocks to the east, skateboarders honed their skills in the parking lot of Pathmark shopping center, creating, at best, an annoyance for shoppers and, at worst, a dangerous situation for drivers.
Thanks to an allocation of $1 million from Borough President Helen Marshall and another allocation of $600,000 from Ulrich, skateboarders will have a new, dedicated space to skate on where the asphalt slab once stood, making use of what many regarded as unused space in a community that cannot afford to waste any space.
At the grand opening of the London Planetree Playground on Sunday in Woodhaven, Ulrich said, “every inch of this place will be utilized.” He cited the newly reconstructed basketball courts, the bathrooms, and workout areas. “It wouldn’t have happened without the taxpayers of the city of New York, the City Council and of course, my friend, Borough President Helen Marshall.”
There are two newly reconstructed basketball courts in the park, as well as a workout area with lifting bars and other exercise equipment, and a walking track that circles the skating area in the center. A new green space was also included in the project, which includes trees and sand areas for soaking up rainwater for irrigation of plants.
Although the skatepark is situated between several buildings, it is still open and spacious. The skatepark consists of a wooden halfpipe as well as four “sets”, each made up of steps, rails, ledges, and gaps. Ramps are also scattered throughout the skatepark. This skatepark has two entrances, one set of stairs, and two skateboard ramps.
The ground has three drains and a plant that provides shade in the summer. High bars of barbed wire surround the skatepark, which is surrounded by chain-link fencing. It is the only skatepark in Forest Park. Trees surround this skatepark but it is not covered by them so there is no way to avoid getting sunburned during hot summers. This skatepark is a great place for skateboarders and BMX-ers to practice their tricks and/or spend time with friends.
It is best to skate here during the early weekend mornings or weekday evenings because it gets crowded on the weekends sometimes. It might be possible to skate here at night, but be careful of other people who are walking around as well as security. This skatepark has no lights so taking breaks will have to be done in between skating, not after finishing a set.
Skateboarders and BMX-ers should wear protective gear such as helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards, and sometimes even neck braces depending on what tricks they want to do. Skaters should also bring a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic ointment, and wipes for skateparks that are dirty or hard to skate in.
It costs nothing to skateboard here but it would be nice to drop some money for local skater businesses such as Brooklyn Projects Skateboards which sponsors this skatepark. This skatepark is an investment by the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and New York skateboarders are hoping for more skateparks in the future.