Jason Lane spent much of his youth, in the 1980s and early ’90s, skateboarding in the streets of Port Washington, which didn’t win him and his friends many fans among fellow residents.
“There were no skate parks anywhere on Long Island,” Lane said. “Coming from a household where my father didn’t believe in cable television, I read all about skating in magazines. I was just a Long Island kid that enjoyed skating.”
Today Lane, 42, lives in Glen Cove. He often tells his children, Devin, 12, Drayer, 10, and Stokely, 7, who live in Locust Valley with their mother Emily Lane, about his skateboarding days when he was their age. During the pandemic, Devin, Stokely and Drayer, who had extra time on their hands, wanted to learn how to skate. But much to their father’s disappointment, there were no skate parks in Glen Cove or the surrounding area to take them to.
“They’d always see the skateboard paraphernalia I have, and there was a skate park built in Bethpage,” Lane said. “My kids said, ‘Hey, Dad, can we go there?’ and I said sure. So I bought them some skateboards and took them skating, and they took a massive liking to it.”
Bethpage’s skate park was one of just a handful in Nassau County that were open during the pandemic, so it got crowded, Lane said. And while he was happy to see that Long Island had skate parks for enthusiasts like him and his boys, he knew that a crowded skate park can be a dangerous one.
“Most of the parks allow BMX [bikes] and inline skating as well as scooters and skateboards,” Lane said. “You have BMX kids crashing into skaters, and a 60-pound bike, no matter how slow it’s going, is still a big deal.”
The crowding at some of the parks, Lane said, “got to the point that they’re not even fun anymore because there’s just too many people.” And he began to see more and more accidents.
A solution, he believes, is to build a skate park for North Shore residents. He’d particularly like to see one in Glen Cove. So he took to the “Glen Cove Neighbors” Facebook page to see if anyone else agreed, and found several residents who did.
“This town doesn’t have much in the way of entertainment for the kids,” said Glen Cover Janine M. Grech, adding that she’d love to see a skate park in the city to take her daughter to. “The parks are beautiful, but Morgan Park, you can’t ride your bike there or skate.”
The closest skate park is one in Port Washington — which closed indefinitely because of the pandemic — and other skate parks like Bethpage’s are 40-minutes drives, Lane said. If he can’t persuade the City of Glen Cove to build one, he added, he will try to get it done privately, with the help of nonprofits or businesses looking to sponsor or franchise a skate park. “I’ve definitely got a lot of support,” he said. “It’s just about now trying to figure out how to use that support to achieve our goals.”
Fellow North Shore resident Alex Greenberg is also working to get a skate park built in the area. His goal is to see one at Tappan Beach, a Town of Oyster Bay park in Glenwood Landing. He published a petition on change.org, and so far it has collected almost 1,000 signatures.
“Skateboarding has been a part of my life since I was six years old,” Greenberg wrote on the petition. “It has had an incredibly positive influence on my life and directly gave me opportunities that made me a better person.”
Greenberg said he wanted to share the positive impact skating can have with residents of Sea Cliff, Glen Head, Greenvale, Glen Cove, Locust Valley and the surrounding area. Once the petition reaches the 1,000-signature goal, he plans to take it to the Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton of Glen Cove, State Sen. James Gaughran of Northport and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
“I’m for anything that enriches people’s lives, and a skate park would be just that,” Grech said. “If you build it, they will come.”
To sign Greenberg’s petition, go to www.change.org/p/town-of-oyster-bay-build-a-skatepark-at-tappen-beach.