For a full third of the perimeter, the benches around the sprinklers have been removed. Why? Well, several times since late Winter, they have been found propped up against the shallow steps as slides (or whatever the "proper" terminology is) for the skateboarding/roller-blading whipper-snappers.
Selfish. Destructive. Ugly. That's the behavior that leads to actions like this.
Ever since the walkways on the 44th side of the park were re-paved, they've been popular with the skateboarders. Last year, most of the kids were very good about halting their kickflips and so on when other park-goers passed through. It is, after all, a public walkway and not a skatepark.
This year, the group has gotten a lot bigger, and they don't stop for anyone. In fact, several times, I've seen and heard about skateboards spinning pretty darn close to adult knees and smaller beings' heads. When it's early, I've asked them to wait while I pass by, and they do. But when it's a large group, it becomes far too uncool to even acknowledge someone in my advanced state of whatever-the-opposite-of-cool is.
I guess using the entrance and a chunk of the walkway isn't enough excitement for our skateboarders (and possibly the relative newcomers - the rollerbladers by the concrete steps). They need more, they need to improvise ways to grind and whatever else they do for an adrenalin rush. Apparently, the City's skatepark over in Owl's Head isn't good enough (or maybe they aren't good enough). It's more fun to remove seating around a highly trafficked part of the park that's used by hundreds of people every hot day. The good news is, there is a finite supply of benches around the sprinklers, so it will have to end at some point. The bad news is, most of the shady spots are already gone, and we're playing a warped game of musical chairs every time we go to the sprinklers to cool off.
For the benefit of one or two commenters: I know, I know. This is a yuppie, destruction of Sunset Park attitude. Wanting to keep the park in a useable state for the majority of Park-goers is disrespectful of what Sunset Park is and how it's always been.
Please. Sorry: Puh-Lease.