Indoor skate park offers fun for kids on Staten Island

September 12, 2012 5:52:54 AM PDT
Ever since the parks department removed the ramps from the Benjamin Soto Skate Park in Midland Beach, Staten Island, kids have been looking for a place to ride skateboards and BMX bikes.

Now, the first indoor facility has opened its doors.

The owners of 5050 skate park took an empty furniture store on Front Street in Stapleton and turned it into a kids' dream - a safe, supervised place where kids can ride, rain or shine.

Skateboard 5050 was the brainchild of founder Angelica Popolano, who saw the need for indoor space. The facility opened in July.

"We've had a really good reaction," Popolano said. "A lot of kids love it, and we've had skateboarders, scooter riders, bike riders, rollerbladers. We just had rollerbladers from California come."

5050 Skatepark allows anything with wheels. It's challenging enough for veteran riders who launch off the ramps with twists and turns, and yet, younger riders can learn the proper way to ride.

Safety is priority one, and pads and helmets are required.

"The other skate park that we used to go to doesn't have ramps like this," rider Melissa Larosa said. "They used to, but then they took it down. And now it's really boring. It's funner here, to go down all the ramps."

Melissa and her brother Stephen are free to explore their inner daredevil in a controlled space, and that is priceless.

"It's a safe meeting place for friends," mom Pauline Larosa said. "Instead of meeting out on the street, on the corner or at a park, they all meet here and it's an indoor environment that's safe for them." And veteran riders love the convenience.

"It's kind of rough when the winter months come and it's cold, raining, there's snow on the ground," rider Marc Kachtan said. "We usually have to go over the bridge, go all the way into Jersey. We used to drive hours to go to other skate parks, and now we have one literally right down the block from my house."

At 5050 Skatepark, you pay a $12 fee per three hour session, and you must sign a waiver and wear a helmet.

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