Bloomberg PlaNYC Playgrounds Still Shut - Investigation
Showalter for News
The playground at P.S. 208 in Harlem remains closed despite clear signage indicating it is open to the public everyday from 8 am to dusk.
Despite a much-hyped city program to keep school playgrounds open on evenings and weekends, thousands of kids are still locked out.
A Daily News reviewof 113 school lots that should be unlocked as part of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC found a quarter of the playgrounds were either completely shuttered or partly closed.
On two recent Saturdays, 17 of the 113 schoolyards were locked, and another 11 lots had either inaccessible blacktop areas or playground equipment, forcing an untold number of recreation-starved children to trek elsewhere for places to play.
"It's an outrage that a quarter of the schoolyards are not open on the weekends," said Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), one of the original architects of the plan.
"If these aren't open, then the kids in the neighborhood are not going to be physically active, and that's the whole purpose of opening up the schoolyards."
Not a single borough was immune to the lapse.
In Brooklyn, 15-year-old Greg Yahiayan lamented the sight of the locked gate outside the school basketball court he's been trying to play on for years.
"It's kind of stupid that they don't open the courts because a lot of us want to play here," Greg said, standing outside Public School 321 in Park Slope.
"I used to come down to shoot around, but it was always locked. I even told the janitor they should open it, but he said he couldn't do anything about it."
With great fanfare in April 2007, Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC, a blueprint to create what he called "the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city."