“What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words A-frame ledge combo?” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop asks in a video he recently posted. It’s not an architecture reference, he says, and not about food. “But if you thought skateboarding, you nailed it.”
In fact, the A-frame ledge combo is a feature of a 12,000-square-foot, “world-class” skatepark that Jersey City plans to build at Berry Lane Park. Other elements will include a large, below-grade concrete bowl, as well as features with names like layback bank, hipped quarter pipes, roller, clam shell and quarter pipe extension.
The plan got a boost in February when the Tony Hawk Foundation, started by the professional skateboarding legend, awarded Jersey City a $25,000 grant to help fund the skatepark’s construction.
The California-based foundation says free public skateparks have social and health benefits because they allow young people, especially at-risk youth, to pursue an athletic activity they love “away from the risks found in the streets.” There is high demand in communities around the country for safe, accessible skateparks, the foundation says.
Fortunately for skateboarders, New Jersey has dozens of skateparks, including free outdoor public parks and a few indoor private facilities that charge admission. They range from simple wooden ramps set on blacktop to elaborate concrete bowls, ledges, and stairs that invite shredding.
The following parks are among the most popular and best-rated in the state. In addition to skateboarders, many also allow inline skaters, and some permit bikes and scooters. Users are required to wear helmets and encouraged to wear kneepads, and some parks require parental permission or a signed waiver.
1. Evergreen Skate Park, Woodbridge
Woodbridge has two public skateparks, including this 10,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2012. It “boasts curved taco jumps, a launcher hubba ledge, a pole jam, pump hump, pyramid hips, and other challenging jumps and runs,” according to the township. The design was inspired by New York’s streetscapes and features colored concrete and brick patterns.
2. Holland Park Skate Plaza, Elizabeth
Described as “easily one of the best” in New Jersey, the 2-year-old, 10,000-square-foot concrete plaza-style skatepark is part of Holland Playfield. The plaza has “a lot of flow and creative obstacles,” according to Kevin Kocses, a skater who reviews parks at NJGrind.com. “The hubba ledges and handrail are below average height and easy for beginner street skaters to learn on.” Park designer Spohn Ranch says the space “feels like a naturally occurring environment that just so happens to be perfect for skateboarding.”
3. The Bridge Skatepark, Bayonne
This 5,000-square-foot indoor private park has a mural of the Bayonne Bridge and numerous concrete and wood features, including concrete ledges, hubbas, six-stair and brick wall ride, and wood slant banks and flat bars. Admission is $12 for three hours, $20 a day or $100 a month. Party packages and lessons are available.
4. Patmos Park, Egg Harbor
The unusual volunteer-built and -run Patmos Park at Shore Fellowship Church is closed for repairs but will be open a few days a week in the summer, said Justin Chambers, who oversees the facility. Highlights include a huge concave vertical dish, large vertical wall, snake run with a roll-in to a double bowl, spine section of two quarter pipes, steps with rails, concrete bumps, and extended three-level stair-like section. Chambers said there’s a slight learning curve for riders not used to the nonstandard features. “Our park is really different from any other park you could go to,” he said. “It’s different and fun.” Admission is $5.
5. Edison Township Skate Park, Edison
The park “offers an impressive design and layout,” according to one review, with sheet-metal ramps that includes a 5-foot bowl, mini-half pipe, micro mini, quarter pipes, roll-ins, kickers, and funbox, as well as a curb box and flat bar.
6. The Skateplex, Long Branch
Located within Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, the skatepark has a bowl, four quarter-pipes, tall wedge, tall radiused wedge, freestanding grind rail, and three fun boxes. The Monmouth County Park System plans to rebuild the skatepark this year with concrete elements in a streetscape format. The oceanfront park also includes the beach and an accessible playground.
7. Gunnel Oval Complex Skatepark, Kearny
The skatepark has an asphalt surface and numerous steel features: 4-foot U-shaped miniramp and four other ramps of varying sizes, three rails, and two small boxes, according to Ralph Cattafi, the recreation department assistant supervisor. Kevin Kocses at NJGrind rues the rough ground but says, “This park has a lot of space with just about anything you could be looking to skate.” The complex also has several fields for basketball, softball, baseball, and soccer.
8. Jump Street Skate Park, Toms River
The offerings at this year-and-half-old, 5,000-square-foot private indoor park include two steep eight-foot ramps, 5-foot ramp with a ledge and wall ride, and series of smaller ramps, including one with a rail for grinding, as well as a half bowl, sloped hubba ledge, and set of seven steps with a rail. The clientele includes bikers, scooter riders and skateboarders, and a store offers skateboard parts, scooters, helmets, and other gear. Admission is $15 per half-day session or $25 per day; memberships and lessons are available.
9. Ann Van Middlesworth Park, Hillsborough Township
Gardenskateboarding.com describes the two-decade-old township skatepark as “critically acclaimed,” with “an incredibly smooth ground surface and an awesome variety of rad and colorful DIY concrete banks and ramps.” The park was largely built and maintained by skaters. Elements include ledges, humps, jersey barriers, grind rails, parking blocks and “too much to list.” The many degrees of ramp and ledge difficulty make the site perfect for all skill levels, the review says.
10. Incline Club Skatepark, Lakewood
This 22,000-square-foot private facility focuses on BMX bike and scooter riders, but does have a newly refurbished street section with A-frames and flat rails that skateboarders enjoy. The park also has a miniramp and a kinked rail, as well as a tapered waterfall bank. Admission is $15 per half-day session or $25 per day, and various membership levels are available.