Greenpoint Audio/Visual Presentation Du Jour: The American Playground

Given that we are embarking upon a holiday weekend (celebrating our nation’s birthday, no less) I feel it is only fitting to showcase Greenpoint’s very own American Playground. Rutila wrote regarding the above image (which I posted June 20th):

There was a homeless man sleeping in the jungle gym this morning when jumping rope in one of the handball courts. He was coughing, and I wasn’t sure if he was sick or clearing his throat to let me know I was interrupting his sleep. Should I have apologized?

Oh, and one of the trees/bushes that flank the storage shed/bathroom was pulled — roots and all — from its planter and dragged to the middle of the basketball courts. I don’t see how this would be possible without a vehicle.

I have been keeping a careful watch over this park ever since.

It isn’t pretty.

But what I was most puzzled by was the womens bathroom’s “new arrangement”.

I have no idea why the Parks Department, in their infinite wisdom, would do something like this. And here’s why:

1. This bathroom is located at a playground. Children will invariably get dirty and need to wash their hands. Most of the children I have observed at this park are tended to by their mothers. Thus, they will need to use the womens bathroom. And if someone is using it they are shit out of luck.

2. This kind of open space (with added privacy) is an enabler for all manner and variety of criminal activity. Foremost in my mind is drugs, as heroin addicts seem to have taken a shine to this park.

And then of course, there is this.

A detergent bottle (Tide, methinks, this brings a whole new meaning to Tidy Bowl) being retrofitted for some hitherto unknown purpose.

Here’s a close-up of its contents. And on July 1st, dear readers, I finally got the wherewithal to flush said toilet and film it.

It appears to be collecting water from the faulty plumbing. Incoming or outgoing I do not know. What’s more, it’s not important. This is yet another (and exemplary) half-assed solution to the manifold problems our parks “comfort stations” face. On that note I have word via a tipster/leaked email that port-o-lets are one the way. Four to be precise:

  • One for Bushwick Inlet Park
  • One for Barge Park
  • Two for McCarren Park

In regards to the lattermost, here’s what one board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— not the Parks Department— had to say:

They’re portable so, if you or other parks users have strong feelings about their placement, they can probably be moved. Personally, I think it’s a good idea for the condo-dwellers on Bayard to fundraise for the park.

This statement is in regards to a Bayard Street resident calling 311 and complaining about public urination; getting a letter from Adrian Benepe advising him/her to talk to our Parks Administrator, Stephanie Thayer, only to be asked by Ms. Thayer if he/she would be interested in fundraising for more garbage cans and bathrooms in McCarren Park (via Open Space Alliance, which is Ms. Thayer’s other employer). Fundraising for amenities one would presume (hope) would have already been paid for via our tax dollars. But I suppose I am being old fashioned.

To recap: a 311 complaint seems to have been employed as a recruitment tool for a not-for-profit org which, theoretically, has nothing to do whatsoever with a public urination complaint. But I suppose that’s what happens when you have a public/private partnership which is out of touch with the very people it purportedly serves. Here’s my advice for anyone who has issues with our public parks:

  • Call 311. Repeatedly.
  • Document and send your complaints to our local Community Board.
  • Don’t bother with our local Parks people, copy the head honcho: Adrian (dot) Benepe (at) parks (dot) nyc (dot) gov
  • It criminal activity is involved, go the the 94th Precinct Community Council meetings and make D. I. Fulton aware of it.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If our Port-O-Potty point person at OSA is listening (because it’s become all too apparent this organization holds the purse strings, not our Parks Department), you might want to toss one WNYC Transmitter Park/”Playground’s” direction.

It’s very popular.

Albeit not by not children.

When I saw this gent walk away from a secluded part of this “playground” a few days later I decided to investigate.



3 Comments on Greenpoint Audio/Visual Presentation Du Jour: The American Playground

  1. rutila on Fri, 2nd Jul 2010 10:50 am
  2. I’m shocked you didn’t wear a latex glove to protect your palm and digits.

  3. missheather on Fri, 2nd Jul 2010 11:38 am
  4. I always make it a practice to carry a packet of disinfectant baby wipes. Not only are they good for this kind of thing but I tend to make a mess of myself when eating ice cream!

  5. d on Fri, 2nd Jul 2010 4:49 pm
  6. Gross. And people think Transmitter is a dog run because of the chips, it’s not a dog run, yet people let their dogs poop in there and don’t clean it up. Now, I love dogs, but I haven’t forgotten last summer when the heel of my shoe ended up in poo.

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