From The New York Shitty Inbox: Angry About Idling at the American Playground

December 9, 2009 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

thumbNo folks, my anonymous tipster is not perturbed by idle folk (which can be seen at left and are quite abundant at this public space ). She’s angry about exhaust. Among other things. M writes:

Dear Miss Heather,

We do enjoy your blog. Why only yesterday my 7 year old stepped in a doggie ganola bar on Manhattan Ave. while waiting for the B61 aka the bus that never comes–nailed both mary janes and filled the treads up to boot–so I though of NY Shitty.  But enough with quaint anecdotes…

Perhaps you can post some lovely comments about the leaded diesel-spewing vehicles that illegally idle outside our charming playgrounds.  And by all means give a special mention to the kind folks over at the Northside Driving School…

Not sure if you have ever noticed, but trucks and buses idle for hours on end at both the Greenpoint Playground (Franklin & Dupont–scenically situated in the shadow of the poop plant) and the American Playground (Franklin & Noble).  NYC idling laws only allow 5 minutes of idling–then drivers are supposed to turn off their stinkin’ engines presumably to spare tiny asthma-prone lungs to the long term effects wrought by such toxic fumes wafting over the rusting (rustically urban?) playground equipment.  All these diesel-fuled vehicles use leaded gas and we know lead is even worse than Sugar Smacks for growing brains and bodies. Not so good for adults either btw.

A few days ago one of our toddler-toting neighbors (I’m one of ’em too) asked one of the Northside Driving School bus drivers to turn off his engine and he “gave her the finger” and kept the engine going as usual.  Yeah right lady. The Northside Driving School buses generally park and idle for hours right next to the baby swingsets–they are nearly always there all morning.  Often they leave the doors open and come in and out of the buses as they enjoy their coffee and cigarettes. Why save gas? They’re working for The Man and he pays up at the pump.

The other day at Amercian Playground an FDNY mini-emergency vehicle–without flashing lights and without doing any obvious job–sat idling just beyond the fence between the toddler climbing structure and baby swings for over an hour–the driver was snoozing and surely wanted to keep warm but he clearly was not on a job (which would have been an exception).  Food-delivery trucks (ex potato chips and soda for nearby delis) linger near the Amercian Playground as well.  I’m not one to spoil a nap of one of NYC’s “fearless” let alone deny the community the nutritious chips and sodas that surely must come on time just like the toys for xmas in “The Little Engine That Could,” but methinks that turning off the engines while naps and chip deliveries take place wouldn’t put too much of a damper on all the fun.

Frankly I see trucks / buses etc idling at both playgrounds a LOT.

I finally made a complaint to 311 regarding these idling problems at both playgrounds. Also wrote CB1 anf NAG. My thought was that having big bold (read obvious) SIGNS (with obvious fines) posted around both playgrounds– would probably help deter this charming local behavior.

Were all this to happen on the UES for example or in tony Brooklyn Heights, well, nary a nanny would ever have to suffer a noxious nostril-full again but here in Greenpoint, considered to be the armpit of Brooklyn as far as the city goes (let it stink/why shave it), nobody pays attention.  Perhaps they’ll see your blog though?  Thanks for considering either way…

in lovely Greenpoint

Wow. Truth be told I have never noticed this. Of course, it should be noted that I do not have children. Therefore, I have no reason to patronize our local playgrounds— and trust me “reason” is the operative word here. Let’s face facts: both of these parks leave much to be desired. Have any of you, dear readers, had the misfortune of having similar such experiences at our public playgrounds? If so, please share. I’d love to hear them!

Miss Heather


One Comment on From The New York Shitty Inbox: Angry About Idling at the American Playground

  1. rachelg on Wed, 9th Dec 2009 8:10 pm
  2. Ms. Heather,

    Idling trucks in the ‘point is a BIG problem! And so, if you ask me, is the general level of truck traffic that barrels down our streets at any given time of day or night. We live at the corner of Norman & McGuinness and even during the hotest days of summer we dare not keep our street facing window open because of all the noxious fumes that inevitably come wafting in. Now I know that Greenpoint is more than just hip coffee shops and polish groceries, its also still, unlike almost all the rest of brooklyn’s waterfront, an active and productive industrial area, and there is lots to be proud of in that fact. but it seems to me that some accommodation between industry and residents needs to be reached! trucks and buses absolutely *may not* spew their stinky, toxic fumes near play grounds, nor should they be permitted to idle, or drive! for that matter, on streets that are clearly marked as barred from truck traffic, as for instance is Norman ave. We are not asking for anything major here, just that everybody plays nice and *respects the already existing laws*!!

    On my very first day as a resident of 11222 I witnessed a hit and run from the window of my then new apartment. A delivery truck rammed into the side of a parked car, and as it pulled away, it took the side of the car with it. Even though I called to report the incident, the driver was never apprehended because from my angle I could not see the license plate. This kind of callous disregard for the people who live on the streets, sorry i mean trucking corridors, of our neighborhood is seriously disheartening. I full support and sympathize with M’s frustrations. People who do business in this neighbourhood, like North Side Driving School, delivery companies sending trucks up here, or industry moving goods, need to be good citizens and neighbors too!

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