Monday, June 15, 2020
A gate at the closed Williamsburg playground was closed Monday after people repeatedly rushed to get inside during the coronavirus shutdown.
The move by city workers Monday at Middleton Playground provoked parents, saying the playground had to be opened and not closed.
"How long can we keep our children in jail?" A mother of six was asked, mainly in the Hasidic area of Brooklyn, who declined to be named. "I don't feel like I'm living in a free country."
Workers at the playground, which borders Lee Avenue and Lynch and Middleton streets, declined to comment. But one heard the parents say: "We don't know when it will open, but hopefully within a week or two. At the moment, it is closed. "
The Parks Department later said the welding was a short-term fix after the locks were repeatedly busted, and the playground will return to use the locks on Monday afternoon.
"In this playground, a temporary measure was used to close the playground after it was breached," spokeswoman Anessa Hodgson said in a statement. "It will be unveiled today and replaced with a lock."
The city's playgrounds have been closed since April 1, when Andrew Cuomo took this option from the hands of Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the pandemic was raging from New York. At the time, the governor's office said they had taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 100,000 people in the US over the past few months.
Three months after the coronavirus shutdown, and when the weather warmed up, the mother of six said she had no way to entertain her children.
"We already did everything. We baked, we did puzzles, we read, we cook," she says. "It's a very beautiful atmosphere. Why can't they be outside?"
One area person who has questioned the hypocrisy of adults packing city parks, often without masks or social-distance, is when the children are locked out.
"Other parks are filled with adults, and the park is closed for children," he said. "Adults can see a park, but you can't allow children to play? It doesn't make sense. "
Community activist Gary Schlesinger called a different kind of double-standard, saying the city had done nothing to discourage the recent mass protests seeking justice for George Floyd, who was killed by a black Minneapolis policeman on May 25 while kneeling in the neck.
"You have ten thousand people marching without social distance and it feels like the story of two cities," he says. "Parents of children living in this community are very angry about this because you have been talking about large families restricted to small apartments for weeks and weeks. The mayor's office should be aware of this, but it's the complete opposite for him."
The children of the community took to the streets last week demanding the opening of the Cuomo sleeping summer camp, but the bid was burned by the governor.
"We have been dealing with families who have been imprisoned in their homes for three months, and they can't go and breathe clean air?" Said David Neiderman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn. "Kids can't have what they need. It's fresh air."
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