Filmmaker Turns His Camera on Local Skateboarders

Greg Navarro, who grew up and lives on the Upper West Side, has been filming skateboarders around Riverside Park for the past year. He’s in the process of completing a movie that focuses especially on skateboarders who practice near the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at 89th Street and Riverside Drive. There’s also clips of original jazz being played at the monument.

He wrote in an email about the tension that sometimes exist between skateboarders and neighborhood residents.

“The skate community on the Upper West Side may be seen as pests or a nuisance to the residents along Riverside Drive, but there are also many who sit and watch in awe of some of their talents. This is how we show appreciation and enjoyment from our public space and public park. We try our best to act respectfully with our neighbors, and if we are asked to leave, we happily exit.”

Check out the trailer below. He expects to complete the film this year.

NEWS | 20 comments | permalink
    1. RIVERSIDEBOULEVARDER says:

      Looking forward to seeing the full length film! Perhaps one day Greg will make a film about cyclists on the UWS!

    2. Wally says:

      I love love how the skateboarders come crashing down on their boards and chip steps and sidewalks and all sorts of cosmetic damage, above all just having a good time.

    3. UWS_lifer says:

      What could be better than honoring our soldiers and sailors while also expressing your passion for skating and the UWS?? I love it!

      Reminds me a little of the Zoo York videos from the late 90’s…but with jazz instead of hip hop.

      Keep up the good work and if any of those folks complain just head down to that new skate park in Riverside. I wish that would have existed in the 80’s.:)

    4. Karina Barron says:

      I love right up the streetm it is cool, the kids on their boards. The tiny humans in their strollers or trying to walk. The elderly talking, sitting on the bench

    5. BILLY NYC says:

      This is going to be so very exciting. Finally the new pro youth are heading to there creative journey of life. Reminding me of the 1960s at NYU. Go get them guys, you’re on the right path, this is now your time. And thank you WSR for taking the first step forward for them.

    6. Sally says:

      I think I might have seen him filming near the Museum of Natural History too.

    7. lizzie says:

      The marble and granite of this monument are already crumbling. These skateboarders are slamming into vulnerable stone and causing chips and micro-cracks that will eventually develop into significant damage. This isn’t okay, guys.

      • Noel DeKing says:

        I entirely agree with this post citing the destruction of an already vulnerable monument, not to speak of the tranquility that many of us seek at this site. I have often complained to skaters, Riverside Park officials and NYPD about this problem, including the removal of NO SKATING signs at the base of the monument by vandals (I wonder who?).I noted these concerns in a previous posting when WSR announced the opening this summer of a legitimate skate park a few locks north in Riverside. This is not a skate park! and WSR is only contributing to the discord with this callous article. I predict this will not end well!

      • Kathleen says:

        You know, I get that @lizzie, but in these times of Covid constriction, and so much rancor and violence throughout society, it’s great to see teenagers having fun and honing their skills this way! I find it fascinating how they learn to do all the tricks they do!

    8. Vic Losick says:

      Good stuff.

    9. Sari Anthony says:

      Maybe if his film makes money, he could donate it to the Riverside Conservancy to support renovation/repair of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, which is badly needed.

    10. Jennifer Howard Kessler says:

      Thank you Greg! My son loves skateboarding over at the monument. Especially during this hard time of lockdown it has been his savior and happy place! Again, thank you for putting this all on film for posterity and enjoyment!

    11. Clio Garland says:

      I used to live at 88th St and RSD with a view of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. I have fond memories of my son, now 27, skateboard there as I looked out from my 11th floor apt. It is one of the things that make me love NYC.

    12. Leslie Rupert says:

      I see these kids almost everyday. They’re absolutely amazing!

    13. Ella says:

      These skaters are destroying public property. The stone is being damaged. It is totally disrespectful. I have complained toe 311 about this issue many times regarding the statue and curved walls at the Columbus Circle statue.

    14. LeahNYC says:

      The part about damage to fragile stone structures calls us to create a win-win solution, not an either-or. I hate the chipping of the monument stone. I love the fact of the skateboarding. There are other important considerations here, I know. Quietude vs. non quietude, etc. But the chipping thing is begging for a win-win fix, and a win-win is possible. Let’s do it.

    15. Very nice article
      Congratulation to my wonderful son Greg Navarro

    16. Dan Ahearn says:

      Skateboarders are dangerous to pedestrians and should be confined to specific assigned areas