PLAYGROUND BATTLE ON 89TH GETS NASTY; ANOTHER VOTE TUESDAY NIGHT

Community board 7 will meet on Tuesday night to decide the fate of a playground on West 89th street between Amsterdam and Columbus. Some parents want the city to pave over Playground 89 because its bumpy stones are tripping their kids and causing nasty injuries. But other parents and preservationists want the playground preserved, and went to court to stop the city from paving over the playground without a community review. But it looks like the preservationists are losing the review process. A community board committee sided with the safety advocates on Monday night.

“Tempers ran high at the rowdy four-hour community meeting, with parents shouting, jeering, and name calling each other,” the Daily News reported.

The entire community board is set to make a recommendation on Tuesday night, in a meeting at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd street starting at 6:30 (there are other items in the agenda, so this might not be the first thing the board discusses).

The safety of Playground 89, which was built in the 60’s, has been debated for years — parents have regularly complained that it’s too dangerous, and it was reconfigured in the late 1990’s. “The playground was typical of post-war design, which incorporated popular child psychology of the time, particularly a strong belief in experiential learning and modernist architecture to create interactive play spaces with ‘adventure’ themes,” according to a history on the parks department website.

Photo via NYC parks department.

NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Ken says:

      Bumps? Hills? By all means!! Let’s pave everything over, make it perfectly flat and soft – put bumpers and cushions on everything – make sure there is nothing left to climb, explore or hide in. Maybe install WiFi for the nannies who are already not paying attention – but if it is all flat and soft – they don’t have to. Then send us all the bill.

    2. Pedestrian says:

      The “battle” over the play ground has provided evidence of at least two unflattering things: parents are less well behaved than their children and parents have no idea how children develope. I understand that some parents have actually called those wishing to preserve the challenging nature of the playground while repairing and up grading the surfaces UWS Taliban. Such excess is simply inappropriate.

      As to the challenging nature of the playground. Children need to be challenged in a controlled environment. That is what this community playground is and that is what it does.

      Parents should remember when they decide to act out that the CHILDREN ARE WATCHING.

    3. Ira Gershenhorn says:

      Even an independent report confirms my belief that nothing read is reliable. I know the West Side Rag reporter was there, busy taking notes and reporting that it was saftey people vs preservationist. Meanwhile all claims of safety issues were anecdotal. Interesting claims were made how how drawing lines on the ground will prevent ball players from going outside those lines. Yes, the “safety” group has won, but its guaranteed they’ll be screaming again soon how the design they so much love (because more than anything else they want something done) really will not do what they want. Injuries will still occur. Snow will prevent the playground from being used.

      • West Sider says:

        Actually, we did not attend the meeting. We heard about it from people who did attend, read up on the playground, and relied on the Daily News account. Avi

    4. NikFromNYC says:

      If your kids don’t learn not to trip on rocks then indeed they will trip and break their hip when they are old. Maybe the unexercised city folk with gray hair are projecting their own lack of robust fitness onto their family kids. Polio was a rich kid’s disease after families forbad their kids from roughhousing outside, and there is serious debate now concerning a similar effect on allergies. Wimpy boys don’t provide you many grand kids, mom. As in…DUH!!!

    5. Howard Freeman says:

      Same over-protective parenting that took away our football program at Trinity School in the 1970s. I say: keep the bumpy terrain and support our local emergency room professionals.