Wacky Kids Skate Watchtower Hill

While the Paping Soapbox Derby may no longer be allowed to roll down “Watchtower Hill”, it won’t stop “those crazy kids” from “shredding” down on their skateboards.

And oh yeah…. when we were kids we didn’t wear helmets… which explains a lot about my generation (aka Generation Ecch).

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  • nabeguy

    Hit one bad pothole, and there definitely will be some shredding, trust me. As a kid, I used to sled down this hill until the day I almost got run over by an unseen car coming down Vine Street at the bottom of the hill; I yanked the steering so hard on the ice, I did a 180 and ended up going down backwards. And no, no helmet. Or gloves for that matter!

  • lifer

    We used to skate down this hill when we were actually kids in the late 70’s (these guys look like 20-somethings). The technique of glue gunning plastic to work gloves hadnt been invented yet. We would catamaran down the hill, my butt on my deck, with my legs on the other guys, while he faced me and had his feet on my deck, we would steer by leaning back and forth, and there was no slowing down by skidding. lots of fun. The Hill as long as i have been alive has been called “Suicide Hill” by the locals, from what I understand its because cars in the olden days would drive up it, loose their tracktion, and fall backwards down the hill to their demise. At least thats the story we heard from Cobble Hill.. any Heights versions out there of why its called Suicide Hill?

  • Jeff Dworkin

    I know these kids. My company sponsors them.

  • bornhere

    I had actually forgotten that, not too long ago, you could drive up that Hill and make a left on Middagh Street. I also wonder why that pattern was ended — it was really convenient. Anyway — I don’t recall the hill ever being called anything but “the hill at the end of Columbia Heights.” “Suicide Hill” is just so dramatic sounding, in that 1950s, teen-angst sort of way.

  • nabeguy

    When the overpass on Middagh Street started to collapse into the BQE below, they closed off the entire end of Middagh Street, which was two way between CH and Hicks up until then.
    I grew up calling it Squibb Hill (as opposed to Snake Hill at the end of Willow Street down to Hicks, where I boarded as a kid on hand-made decks comprised of plywood and 2 halves of the old rollers skates nailed to the bottom, no helmets, no gloves, no sterring and definitely no sense). We heard the Suicide Hill reference in passing, but we assumed it meant that it’d be as good as committing suicide if you tried to go down it on a bike.

  • danno

    Close, but not quite.
    The overpass was closed 10 or so years ago after an overheight tractor-trailer hit the bridge. Rather than completely repair the overpass, which never got much traffic at all, DOT elected to simply close it to traffic and dead-end Middagh.

  • nabeguy

    I vaguely remember the trailer incident, but I’m trying to figure out how a truck could have slammed into the overpass on the Middagh St side, since trucks going towards that direction (north to south) are on the lower deck and would have to be 50 feet tall to reach it. The upper deck flow, which would make more sense, would have hit the Columbia Heights facade of the overpass first, no? Or did the truck just keep going and wedge itself in?

  • bornhere

    Of course it was Squibb Hill! Maybe I block the name because it was so near “the big playground” where some of the “hoodie kids” hung out.

  • lifer

    I cut my grafitti teeth in “squibb park” and was in “CFW” a crew that i would imagine were part of the hoodie element..’Crazy F#ckin Whiteboys’, we terrorized Burger King and SAt Ann’s..I guess the Suicide Hill thing was a Cobble hill thing. Also the decks we used were floppy fiberglass(2 strips of grip tape) with orange wheels, certainly not the “easy chair” longboards these dudes have going.

  • lifer

    I meant St. Anns, of course..

  • Joe

    Ever since I moved to BH, my late 30 something brain has fantasized about going down this hill on a razor. Every time I mention it to my spouse, I have been threatened with a fate worse that death–there are the kids to consider. Last summer I saw a young boy flying down the hill on a razor and breaking with elegance at the bottom of the hill right before vine street. It was almost poetic. You really have to be young, stupid and without parental supervision to have the crazies to do that.

  • NISE

    Squibb Hill!

  • Andrew Porter

    Hey, Nabeguy, the truck was going north. Apparently the overpass was slightly sagging and the truck hit the girders holding it up, and wedged itself in, twisting them. Rather than close the BQE heading north to make extensive repairs, they simply closed the end of Middagh Street after removing the supporting girders.

    I have, however, seen cars heading west on Middagh simply drive onto the sidewalk and continue onto Col. Hgts. Scarey when kids and strollers are on the sidewalk, too…

  • Alisoncc

    Gre up in the heights and went to St. Ann’s and Packer, we all called it Squibb hill and suicide hill interchangeably. I never heard why it was called suicide hill, but I always thought it was because runners would run up it doing “suicide drills.”