About a week ago longboarders pushed across the GW Bridge to Fort Lee Park in Dirty Jersey for the Outlaw downhill and slide contests. Unfortunately I had to work, and couldn’t make it to the event in one of my favorite parks to ride. I used to live in Washington Heights and often rode the GW. As far as bridges go, it’s pretty flat, with a very mild incline towards Jersey. On the other side is a great park that snakes its way down the cliffs to the Hudson (In my maps section I have detailed the exact route). There are some big hills to bomb on the way down, and very few cars heading down to the park.
Apparently the race and slide contest went pretty well, with about 50 riders or so showing up to compete. I really like this pic from freshpaved.com.
My first experience in this park was less than enjoyable, and lead to a waste of my Monday at the Palisades Park Court. One frigid Saturday afternoon I skated across the bridge with my homeboys Q’bn and Daley. There was snow on the ground and it was about 20 degrees. As the sun was setting, we entered the top of the park and bombed all the way down. The river was partly frozen and looked gorgeous in the lights of the bridge.
We headed up the snow covered stairs that leads directly to the top of the park, and came to a small stone tunnel. Sensing danger, I turned to my friends and told them to keep their wits about them as we followed the trail in. As we emerged on the other side, we find flashlights shining in our eyes and what appeared to be cops yelling at us. We are rather confused, and at their insistence follow them up the last few flights of stairs. The two dickheads try and poke in our pockets (insisting they are “allowed to be touchy-feely”) and ask us what illegal activities we were engaging in. After a bit of ridiculous harassment and an refusal to believe we would be out enjoying the brisk winter weather on our longboards in the “highly dangerous” conditions, they finally tell us we are trespassing, since the park closes at dusk (it was about an hour after dusk). Although we hadn’t seen any signs to indicate that, it seemed quite cleat that we were leaving and if indeed that was the rule, we had broken it unintentionally. The scumbag cop said we made several good points, but was still writing us tickets- it was the only way people learn. I diplomatically discussed the ridiculous nature of his position to no avail. They kept us standing in the below freezing temps for over a half hour, and then gave us a ride out of the park to the bridge.
On the way out, I asked where the sign with the hours were, so when we argued our innocence in court, our story would be corroborated. He didn’t know where it was, but insisted that knowing parks close at dusk is like knowing to stop at a red light- you didn’t need a sign to tell you that, you just know. His profoundly retarded logic left me speechless. As Q’bn returned the next afternoon with his camera, he found an obscured sign reading “Park closes ONE HOUR AFTER DUSK.” Fucking douchebags. We went to court that Monday to plead our innocence. The place looked like a park visitor’s center, but apparently was a court/police station/stable. Court was in session from 3-4:15 Monday through Wednesday (as inconvenient as possible). While waiting for it to open, we met a plethora of people with bullshit charges handed out by jerk-off cops. Our case was third and quickly dismissed. This is my second longboard related summons that was dismissed without hesitation by the judge. The point of this long narrative is that Ft. Lee Park is awesome, but watch out for asshole Jersey cops.
For videos of cops being dicks to skaters, check out Uncoached.