Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Playground Action by Parents in Bay Ridge

The NY Daily News has a short article about how parents have dealt with ugly behavior in Bay Ridge playgrounds.

Here's the link: Bay Ridge Moms...

The problems had come up recently on the Bay Ridge Parents board. The most egregious mentioned involved a teenage girl cursing and making vulgar sexual motions towards a toddler who was (gasp!) loudly enjoying the playground.

For those of us in Sunset Park, people in the playgrounds without children is a common sight. The folks in the photo from this morning were having an intense conversation for the entire time we were there. No children attached to any of them, as far as I could tell.

Many adult residents also use the equipment in the AM to stretch and do pull-ups and headstands. They have usually cleared out by 10 AM or so, and most seem happy to move over when children get in their circle of fitness. I suppose that technically, we could call 311 about these folks, but would that be productive?

I've called 311 about people sleeping on the benches in the playground in the afternoon, and I heard that tickets were issued to vendors who consistently enter the playground to sell toys/treats. They come right back later, of course, but at least it's more official than a parent. For the most part, I've just asked (okay, told) adults and children who use the playground as their biking short-cut or scooter space to leave the playground. And usually I'm met with a blank stare (Language barrier? It couldn't be each time.). I've also tried closing the gates when I enter (it actually works to keep bikes and some unaccompanied adults out), but inevitably they are left open within a few minutes. Admittedly, I've gotten lazy about all of these responses because I don't see a change. Maybe I'll try once more. The "official" response in the article is encouraging, but what is said to the media and what is actually done can be very different.

from the article:

A Parks Department spokesman said that the parks in question are made strictly for kids, and called on concerned parents to help them stay that way.

"Teens or adults can only be in a playground area if they are accompanied by a child under the age of 12," said spokesman Phillip Abramson. "This is a citywide rule put in place to protect our children."

Residents who see anyone lurking at the park without a child should call 311 right away, said Abramson.

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