McCarren Skate Park

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Client: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Denisha Williams, Project Manager and Landscape Architect for Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP with subconsultant Grindline Skateparks, 2009


Within a tight corner site that had been designated for a skate park in Brooklyn's WPA-era McCarren Park, this half-acre, durable concrete park—the first of its style in New York City—has been designed to withstand rigorous free-style use by skateboarders, skaters, and BMX bicyclists. Completed in 2009, the park teems with activity throughout the year by skaters of all ages and abilities.


Working within the constraints of the small corner footprint, a limited budget, and direction from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for an above-ground, unattended, easy-to-maintain park, the design team delivered a project that meets the challenges presented by the site, the budget, and the wide array of user groups. As Project Manager and Landscape Architect for Abel Bainnson Butz, LLP, Denisha Williams coordinated the design team and subconsultant Grindline Skateparks.


McCarren Skate Park combines contemporary street-style skate obstacles (steps, rails, and ledges) with more classic obstacles, such as a quarter pipe, wedges, and banks. All of the obstacles were custom designed and detailed and were constructed on site. To blend the skate facility into the site on its highly visible corner of the McCarren Park Pool Complex, the team designed a curvilinear footprint that maximizes the skate area while making the skate park less visually prominent from the street. New steel fencing, plantings, and ADA accessible paths further connect the design to the surrounding park. An ADA-compliant drinking fountain, with associated water service and RPZ, completed the amenities included in this project.


The skate park anticipated the subsequent $50 million renovation of the McCarren Park Pool Complex, and was designed to complement the larger renovation project to create a new destination for this dynamic Brooklyn community.