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editor's note:
Manchester Skatepark

* Outdoor: 'Crete
* Free
* Trannie / Street
* Rating: New Hampshire's newbie

Once upon a time, New England had nothing but these sorry-ass McParks stinking up the countryside. After torturing the local rippers w/ knee-high, pre-fab skateables, many New England towns scored larger, better metal parks that work pretty well. Closing in on a truly kick-ass experience, Manchester NH got a full on concrete park... but not quite the full on concrete experience.

Now, I was there on opening day in Aug of 2001. This park had two broken arms in the first two hours it was open... not the park's fault, just eager grommits w/ limited skills. Maybe it had something to do w/ the BMX yo-yos cranking sketchy speedlines thru the other riders... [I hate riding w/ BMXers]. Overall, not a lot of skating going on, mostly just local scene-sters trying out their new hangout. I hope that these days some real skaters have found this spot.

Regarding the park itself, ehhhhhh... Just like the local skaters that day, this designer/builder [who?] wasn't quite ready for this job. Take a look below at all that empty flat ground in the middle - if it looks like a parking lot, it's NOT a skatepark - total waste of space and big flow killer. Some of the materials were odd too, like this park was designed by someone that had seen pictures of a skatepark, but had never actually ridden one. I think the heart-shaped bowl is a great design, but I didn't get a chance to skate it. Last comment - the ledge on the funbox was super rough, and looked completely unslideable [I'm guessing someone has made them fix this by now].

Getting back to this concept of "progression," you don't have to look far for examples of this evolution. Beginning w/ the biggest McPark I've ever seen, check out NH's Milford [whole lot of nothing]. Then check out a local metal park in Londonderry - the asphalt sucks but it's a decent park. Finally, skip Manchester and head over to Nashua for some Team Pain know-how, imported from Florida - that's a good concrete park! Heading out of NH to MA, you've got one of the best parks in the country at Newburyport, and, for an oddball approach to park design, witness the minimalism at Burlington Mass.

Directions: Manchester NH is south of Concord, off the 93. Take Interstate 93 south toward Manchester. Exit onto Route 3 [might be Route 28?], southwest toward Manchester and bear right on Daniel Webster Hwy. Daniel Webster becomes Hooksett, just keep heading southwest-ish. When you hit Beech [one way street], you'll make a left and head true-south. After you cross Auburn St, get ready to make a left on Valley. From Valley, make another quick left on Maple [also a one-way street] and you're there. The skatepark is on the right, behind the Youth Center, in Basquil Sheeham park.

...scroll down for pics

[ click pix to enlarge ]

^ It's big, but Manchester skatepark
suffers from an inexperienced
design/build team...

^ Look at that
rough ledge...
not good.

^ The park is behind
this building.

^ There are a few
nice features,
including big walls,
the bowl, and that
spine in the background.

^ Andrew Jamrog
was the ONLY
skater in sight
as he busted this
thick 4 stair.

^ I didn't have time to
ride this bowl, but I
have ridden one like it.
With 5 bowled corners,
and a banger sq hit, this
part of the design gets
the thumbs up!

[ click pix to enlarge ]

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