Fate Of ‘Dangerous’ NYC Playground Taken To Court In A Massive Case Of First World Problems

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boy at playgroundIf you need another story for the #firstworldproblems file, I’ve got just the one. Apparently two rival groups of parents are arguing over what is more important: the architecture of a park on the upper West Side of Manhattan or the fact that some kids have fallen down and gotten a few boo boos at said park.

The argument is over the future of Playground 89, a historic and distinctive play area designed by the architect M. Paul Friedberg. The area features a fun “adventure style” with a Belgian brick design and a shallow amphitheater. One group of parents is hoping that the NYC Park’s Department will level the play area to put an end to kids getting cuts and bruises from tripping over the uneven terrain.

If this was almost anywhere else, it would most likely be a minor disagreement taken care of in a series of overwrought community meetings. There would probably be a few helicopter parents with petitions or whatever, and that would be the end of it. But since this IS a “tony Manhattan neighborhood” the whole situation has been brought to court.

I’m not exactly jumping for joy about kids getting hurt at this playground. On one hand, the Parks Department toured the area back in January and were concerned enough to fast-track $600,000 for renovations. Though according to one area parent, Stephanie Crossman, there have been no studies done that prove more kids are being hurt at this park than any other. It seems to me that a lot more work needs to be done before anyone should be breaking ground.

In the most surprising turn of events, the architect himself seems to be the most pragmatic about the park. According to Friedberg:

“There needs to be studies and investigations that look for creative and responsible solutions instead of just taking the most mindless alternative: destruction. It’s become such a contentious issue that’s less and less about the playground and more a battle between two groups of parents.”

When the dude who built the place is calling for people to calm down, then you know there is a serious problem. Keep in mind that this hoopla is going on in the same city where many people are still homeless after Hurricane Sandy last October. Hopefully these people can get their priorities straight and find more productive things to argue about than a park that even the architect is pretty much “meh” over.

(Photo: sakkmesterke / Shutterstock)