When the brand-new, completely renovated Montauk skatepark opened on Friday, August 26, something rare and truly special happened almost immediately for all those who rolled onto its smooth concrete expanse — it absolutely met, and exceeded, all expectations. Some are saying it’s the best skatepark in the Northeast.
Talk to local skaters and they’ll tell you they’re in heaven, perhaps using different words, but the sentiment is there. “Can’t believe the amazing vibes that have been constantly rolling at this park. It still feels like a dream every time I’ve pulled up here,” Montauk’s Kyle Ferguson (@kylecferg) writes in one of many jubilant comments from skaters on the Montauk Skatepark Coalition Instagram account.
“It’s the best park because of the use of natural elements like the boulders. You don’t see that in most parks,” explains Pat Lane, one of the local skaters who gave a lot of input into how the park took shape. “It’s as unique as Montauk is. There’s a wave and clam shell-shaped obstacles,” he adds, describing the park as having “something for everyone.”
Indeed, the Montauk Skatepark Coalition, which began fundraising in 2020 to completely refurbish the previous park, came in with a vision for something more friendly to kids and new skaters, while also including features that would make even the most seasoned skaters happy. The result, after raising $1.5 million for the project and months of construction — including tearing down the original park, which had seen better days since its construction in 1999 — is exactly that.
The park offers beautiful bowls, smooth transitions, a classic concrete pool and plenty of street features such as rails, hubbas, stairs and more. But along with the amazing skating, the park has also been cleaned up and cleared out to make it a lovely spot that a variety of people would enjoy visiting.
“I would say on average there were 30-50 people there almost the entire day,” recalls Montauk Skatepark Coalition president John Britton, who spearheaded the Herculean effort of making this once torn-up, graffiti-riddled park into a masterpiece of skatepark design.
“What’s really gratifying for me is seeing people who are not skateboarders, people who are older who have heard about the project or read about it — and they show up and they walk around, and they just want to see the scene. You can overhear their commentary and it’s incredibly positive. They’re just amazed,” Britton says, attributing the non-skaters’ interest to the Coalition’s work clearing out invasive shrubbery, replanting the hill and beautifying the space.
“You can see the ocean now, and they took away the fence that made it look more like a prison yard. There’s no more graffiti, there’s comfortable seating. It’s all clean. It’s just so visually appealing right now, it’s a great hangout spot,” Britton adds.
“The park has been packed every day since opening,” Lane concurs.
Since the first week, locals and visitors, including loads of young kids, have been gathering for Friday Skate Day sessions, where Britton says people can learn from others and a good time is had by all. And next Saturday, September 24 from 1–6 p.m., the Montauk Skatepark Coalition is hosting a contest with cash prizes in multiple categories, including Boys Under 12, Girls Under 12, Adults, Best Trick and more.
“That’ll be an all-day thing. There will be some music and it will be very festive,” he says, noting that he’s expecting to see lots of people, including some “excellent” skaters participating from out of town. “We’ve already had a couple pros come out,” Britton says.
Montauk’s new park is another attraction to bring visitors to the hamlet as skaters from NYC and beyond will surely make the trip to skate it. “Visitors could make it a whole weekend of surfing and skating in Montauk,” Britton says, pointing out that the cooler weather might actually be the best time for skating because the park gets so hot in the summer, though they are making efforts to add more shade for next season.
“The success of this park, I think, really is going to inspire some additional development of other parks,” Britton adds, looking to the work going on now at Greenport’s decaying skatepark and other places that could follow Montauk’s lead. “The Town of Southampton is looking into one in Southampton and also in Speonk,” he shares.
But for now, it appears nothing can beat the Montauk Skatepark.