Beatrice Domond was trying to land a trick, but it was taking a few tries. Not to land the trick, of course — the 25-year-old pro skater has been called the “future of skateboarding” by the Wall Street Journal — but just to get the right photo.
In her usual favorite spots in Tompkins Square Park and at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, getting the right snap would mean snaking through pedestrians and ducking the occasional cop, but not here. She’s grinding and kick-flipping through New York’s newest and biggest indoor skate park, Vans Skate Space 198. The iconic brand has taken over a former industrial warehouse and Citi Bike storage space in a rapidly gentrifying area of East Williamsburg, and turned it into a 9,000-square-foot, pedestrian-free skating wonderland. And any skater can use it for free.
The park, which opened in January, is the perfect antidote to the vibe-killing chill of late winter, The winter here “makes it really harsh to skate outside,” says Domond, a Florida native who now lives on the Lower East Side and skates professionally for Vans and other brands. “So having this is perfect.”
The ledges, flat bars, wallrides, granite ledge and diamond plate of the park might be familiar to Gotham’s street surfers: Vans consulted with local skate shops and board-pushers to design the park. Some of its elements are modeled after iconic city spots — most notably, a part of the famed Brooklyn Banks that has been brought back to life. The Banks had been a popular unofficial skate park under the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge since the 1980s, but construction closed it in 2010. The Vans park contains a banked wall that mimics the curved brickwork of the original.
Vans has also partnered with the Lower East Side’s Labor Skateshop, which just opened an outpost nearby (about a 15-minute walk away) at 282 Scholes St.
While Domond waits for the official first day of spring on March 19, she’s happy to have the indoor spot to keep in tip-top skating shape. “Sometimes winter can keep you inside your house all cooped up,” she says. “It’s good to be even around skateboarding when you’re not skateboarding.”
Vans Skate Space 198, 198 Randolph St., East Williamsburg; Vans.com/Space198. Skaters should reserve a time online to use the free space. The park is open Thursday through Sunday most weeks, with sessions running generally from 2 to 9 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. on weekends. Kids ages 6 to 12 are welcome on weekends from noon to 2 p.m. Anyone can come by to watch without signing up, though viewing space is limited.
News & Image Source: www.nypost.com
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