Off the Rails: Rockland Skaters Build a Park Off the Beaten Path

Local skaters dug out a buried road on Old Route 9w and transformed it into a hidden park

“No one really does the kind of stuff we do,” said “Anthony Hawkins”, a skateboard enthusiast who, on the condition of anonymity, shared one of the county’s better kept secrets: A skate park hidden in the woods of Haverstraw. 

With no prior construction or building experience, “Hawkins” and a small group of local skaters combined their love for nature with their passion to build unique and secretive spots to establish full blown skate parks in the middle of nowhere.

“Every spot we kept making started getting bigger,” said “Hawkins”. “We were never satisfied so we started building ramps.” The skaters initially placed tarps around the trees, but they eventually transitioned to building more advanced structures, eventually putting up their own cabins. 

Never buying materials for the secret parks, the skaters used whatever they could find laying around the county. “We literally just find scrap wood around the towns,” said “Hawkins”. 

“Hawkins” said that when teenagers found out about spots he built in the past, they often vandalized and destroyed them. “People we don’t even know had legit parties there,” said Hawkins.

All of the other hidden skate parks built by the group were allegedly destroyed by teenagers 

The most recent park “Hawkins” and his friends built was on Old Route 9W, in Haverstraw. The skaters uncovered a road buried in the woods, and later dug it out. “We discovered that and then we just dug a whole big area out, and the cement was actually pretty smooth, considering it’s super old,” said “Hawkins”.

After digging out a portion of the road, the group brought ramps there and built a shack on the edge of the mountain, overlooking the Hudson River.

View of the Hudson River from the cabin that rested at the hidden Haverstraw skate park

About a year later, State Police posted a letter at the site, advising the skaters to remove their property from the land, which was identified as Historic. “Until I read that letter, I didn’t even think about that,” said Hawkins. “That’s why I never thought it was bad, because we just built on it, we weren’t going to trash it or anything.” 

Prior to building personalized sites since 2012, Hawkins recalled regularly skating at the community skate park in Congers, before it was demolished. He was part of the committee to get the Nyack Skate Park established, but expressed the dangers of unsupervised children at the park who pose risks to themselves and skaters. 

“We just like to build our own spots away from everyone and have our own area,” said Hawkins.