A Huntington Station teen is seeking his community’s support to create a safe place where he and other skateboarders can safely catch some fresh air.
Daenys Cruz, 18, has launched a Change.org petition asking Huntington Town officials to consider constructing a skate park at Breezy Park in Huntington Station. What once started as a classroom assignment has slowly turned into a movement, garnering more than 520 signatures as of July 25.
“I think skateboarding is a healthy habit,” Cruz said. “It’s also a community where you will find people look out for one another.”
“Skateboarders view architecture differently. Some people will see a set of stairs, but to us it’s something to jump off of.
– Daenys Cruz
The 2018 Walt Whitman High School graduate said the idea came to him in English class, where he had to write an argumentative essay. Cruz said he started skateboarding nine years ago after he was diagnosed with type I diabetes, commonly called juvenile diabetes.
“Skateboarding gave me a way to keep myself healthy,” he said. “With diabetes, you have to stay active to maintain a good quality of life.”
He started by practicing in an abandoned parking lot but quickly took to skateboarding at Breezy Park, as he could get to it from his house without having to beg his parents for a ride, he said. Its pathways and curbs provided him with inspiration to keep skating.
“Skateboarders view architecture differently,” Cruz said. “Some people will see a set of stairs, but to us it’s something to jump off of.”
Cruz said his petition seeks a safer environment for skateboarders by keeping them out of traffic on busy residential streets and off commercial properties. He admitted to having shop owners threatening to call local police on him while practicing in their parking lots, looking to get away from passing motorists.
“I had a friend who ended up getting hit by a car,” the teen said. “It was one of the scariest moments, because he almost lost his life.”
The Town of Huntington currently has two skate parks: Greenlawn Skate Park for BMX bike riders, scooters, rollerbladers and skateboarders; and Veterans Skate Park for rollerbladers and skateboarders only off
Bellerose Avenue in East Northport.
Veterans Skate Park, which was built in 2011 by Site Design Group and California Skateparks, cost the town $420,000 and was undertaken as part of a $8.3 million park renovation, according to town spokeswoman Lauren Lembo.
“If there was a place we could come every day, it would be a blessing.”
– Daenys Cruz
Cruz said he’s visited both skate parks, but there is no available public transportation and they can be too difficult for teens to get to without a ride. Greenlawn Skate Park has restricted hours to keep skateboarders,
scooters and rollerbladers separated from motocross bike riders, only permitting skateboarding in the afternoon. Cruz said it makes practicing difficult for older teens, like himself, who may work at a job until the late afternoon or early evening.
“We do not ask to make a huge skateboarding plaza, but a place where us skateboarders of Huntington can make a place to ourselves,” Cruz’s petition reads.
In speaking with others, the teen said he would like to see a street-style skate park that provides a flat, smooth surface with curbs, ledges, maybe a few small ramps or set of stairs.
“If there was a place we could come every day, it would be a blessing,” Cruz said. “We could really take it to our full potential.”
The Huntington Station teen said he’s reached out to the town via email and hopes to present his petition to town officials at an upcoming board meeting.