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The metallic orbs in the funky playground in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park are literally scalding the children!
The cries of the little tykes and sizzling of burning flesh got so bad in Wednesday’s 86-degree weather that workers in the Pier 1 segment of the proposed park installed festival tents above the 125-plus-degree steel mounds to shade them.
“When we came the first time it was nice, until he got burned!” said Lisa Bruno, the nanny for a sensitive young 3-year-old named, appropriately enough given the heat, August. “Now I won’t even let him get near the toys. What were they thinking when they installed these?”
A little later, park-goers used a newfangled digital thermometer on the unusable half-orbs, revealing that the temperature was a whopping 127.9 degrees — just 30 degrees less than the frying point of an egg!
The workers had posted signage earlier this week warning parents and caregivers of the dangerous play equipment: “Steel dome play structures can be hot,” the sign said. “Once the tree canopy fills in we expect the shade provided will alleviate this condition.”
But the trees didn’t grow fast enough to muffle the screams coming from the foot of Old Fulton Street. Festival tents were put up at about 1 pm Wednesday to shade each of three climbing domes.
Park developers were surprised when they started receiving complaints from parents last week, but said they’re looking at some quick fixes.
“Injuries are our worst fear — that’s why we’ve put up the tents,” said Beth Mitchell, spokeswoman for the Empire State Development Corporation. “The London Plane trees we’ve planted around the steel fill out early in the spring and get really leafy. They will help a lot in the next few weeks.”
Even state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights), an outspoken Brooklyn Bridge Park advocate, is on the case, saying that he will question the equipment’s manufacturers as well as seek a “reflective coating” that can cool off the structures.
But until developers find a permanent answer, the question remains: what went wrong? Other manufacturers said metal is an easy and obvious red flag when planning any playground.
“I don’t think stainless steel facing direct sunlight is wise,” said Danny Bears, owner of the New York equipment company, BEARS. “I’m amazed that temperatures were reaching those levels in a playground. But I also don’t think it’s a hard problem to overcome.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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