This past March a brand new beautiful park opened up along the waterfront in the Brooklyn neighborhood sometimes referred to as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.) Designed by the landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, its aesthetic appeal has apparently trumped its usefulness for children and has caused fury to boil among parents.
According to parents and child care-givers who have been frequenting the newly designed Brooklyn Bridge Park, some of the equipment poses a serious health and safety hazard to the children trying to just have some fun.
The offending structures are large, metal climbing domes, which, according to the laws of physics, become hot when the sun’s rays reach and are absorbed by their gleaming, metallic veneer. An added danger these structures pose is their hard, uncompromising surfaces, causing serious damage, in one case a broken nose and lost tooth, when children accidently fall against them.
Park officials responded to the complaints of parents with several aggressive actions. Tents were placed over the metal structures, shielding them from the harsh rays of the sun. However, despite park officials’ requests that the earth stand still, it didn’t, and within a few hours the sun once again shown upon the metal surfaces.
Even more drastic measures were then taken, and saplings were planted alongside the domes, in the hope that soon they would produce the necessary shade to keep the domes at safe temperatures- for the children of the children who are playing there today.
In one last attempt to keep the kids safe, park officials posted warning signs that the structures are a safety hazard and should be avoided. Too bad the under-six crowd that generally play on these structures have not yet learned to read.
No wonder this neighborhood was referred to on the Seinfeld show as DUMB. And it’s not because the toddlers can’t read.