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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > What you need to know about the new skatepark at the Grand Central Park in Thane

What you need to know about the new skatepark at the Grand Central Park in Thane

Updated on: 01 March,2024 07:17 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Devashish Kamble |

A professional skater test-drives the newly opened skatepark at the Grand Central Park in Thane that has set the community abuzz, and shares his report

What you need to know about the new skatepark at the Grand Central Park in Thane

Kushal Gaikwad performs a jump at a euro gap

If you were to observe a young adult approach a flight of stairs closely, you can identify the exact moment their heart shatters when they realise there isn’t an escalator in sight, usually followed by a deep sigh. Kushal Gaikwad, a skater from Dombivli, thinks it’s no big deal. A firm strike with his foot on the edge of his skateboard, and the 22-year-old is airborne; and before you can wrap your mind around the physics behind it all, Gaikwad will have slid his way down the handrails, on to his next trick. It’s all happening under the sun at the newly inaugurated skatepark at the Grand Central Park in Thane, a landmark that skaters from the suburb have been waiting to open for perhaps a tad too long.

The skater tests a down ledge at the park. Pics/Sameer Markande
The skater tests a down ledge at the park. Pics/Sameer Markande

First impressions

Walking into the new skatepark managed by the Thane Municipal Corporation, Gaikwad shares what it means for the community. “There were no skateparks in the city in 2017 when I started practising. The Carter Road skatepark opened in 2019, but it soon became too small to accommodate the growing community. While it is a great spot to experiment, it offers little in terms of growth and training. This one is even more special for us because we will no longer have to travel from the central suburbs to the city every time.” Gaikwad is in for a pleasant surprise even before he is done slipping into his gear — a dedicated attendee is stationed at the skatepark to provide first-aid and keep a watchful eye on young skaters for their safety. “I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Hopefully this encourages parents to get their children into the sport,” he remarks.

Kushal Gaikwad
Kushal Gaikwad

Tricks and treats

Gaikwad beelines straight to the street section that forms one half of the park. After 30 minutes of kickflips, ollies, and slides on the down-ledges, stairs, rails, ramps and the euro gap — a specialised ramp that opens to a gap followed by a flat ledge — Gaikwad takes a breather. He shares his half-time report, “The courses are built in full length, without cramming things together to save space and the installations feel rigid, giving you the confidence to go all in.” You’d expect that from a 20,000 sq ft park; but the skater offers some deeper insight, “Having standardised installations means learners who train here will be better prepared to enter professional competitions in the future. It’s also convenient for intermediate and professionals who scramble for spots leading up to competitions.”

Gaikwad balances at the edge of the skating bowl as he enters it
Gaikwad balances at the edge of the skating bowl as he enters it

Maintenance matters

As Gaikwad cruises on to the neighbouring section where a concrete bowl awaits him, he lets us in on what it takes to maintain a skatepark. “The defining characteristic of a skating bowl and a well-executed park, is its smoothness. It offers you control and flexibility over how and when you approach a trick. I see a few cleaners here who are making sure the course stays clear. That’s a welcome change. We had a skatepark in Dombivli that is now in ruin because no one bothered to maintain it,” he recalls, adding that a complete revamp every eight years will ensure the new skatepark doesn’t go down the same path. While skaters have easy access to the common washrooms and purified water dispensers at the park, the maintenance of these perks will ultimately dictate their longevity. Being maintained by the Kalpataru Group, the skater shares that he’s hopeful of timely audits and maintenance.   

Cracking the culture

Gaikwad’s second, and larger concern might leave the authorities, parents, and our readers divided. “Wearing a helmet was never a part of skateboarding culture. Even at the professional competitions, you’ll never spot one; but the park makes it mandatory. It might be a good idea for children and learners, but others must have the freedom to ditch it,” he sighs. The skater’s concerns around a possible culture gap between the authorities and skaters extend to a rumoured price hike. While the Grand Central Park currently levies a common R20 entry charge, the 22-year-old worries the skatepark might soon charge a premium, a move adopted by private skateparks in the city.

We leave Gaikwad with a question that has been brewing in our minds since the inauguration of the park — does the park lack visually what it compensates for technically? “The basics have been taken care of. There is ample lighting post sunset and the ledges are marked in red for increased visibility. It is true that skateboarding has long been associated with hip-hop, graffiti and freedom of expression, but we understand that the skatepark is a part of a larger park that follows a broader visual aesthetic. A skatepark is not about visuals as much as it is about the facilities, but it would be great to see the authorities invite some graffiti artists to spice things up.” he concludes. 

At: Grand Central Park, Kolshet Industrial Area, Thane West.
Timings: 1 pm to 9 pm 
Entry: Rs 20 (Rs 30 on weekends)

Skateboarding venues

>> Nerul Skatepark
At Sector 19A, near Yashwantrao Chavan Ground, Nerul East.
Timings: 9 am to 7 pm

>> Dadar Pep Skatepark
At Hindmata Signal, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Dadar East.
Timings: 9 am to 9 pm

>> Carter Road Skatepark
At Opposite Additional Police Commissioner Office, Carter Road, Bandra West.
Timings: Open 24 hrs

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