Vandals plowed through a nearly completed Far Rockaway playground early Tuesday morning after commandeering a parked construction vehicle, authorities said, according to the New York Daily News.
Someone jumped into a John Deere excavator parked outside Beach 29th St. around 4 a.m. and rammed through a chainlink fence, officials said.
They wrecked the slides and climbing equipment, before trying to break into two construction trailers at the site.
The park, an oasis among weed-filled empty lots near the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, was slated to open this summer.
“This heartless act of vandalism is a crime against all of the residents of New York City, and especially against the children of Far Rockaway,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
The playground was part of a $30 million investment in recreation areas in Far Rockaway, Lewandowski said. The park included a water play area, state-of-the-art playground and nearby synthetic turf field.
And 10 blocks away, the agency opened a new skateboard park, sports courts and new performance space.
(Photo: WABC News)
“It’s terrible. The area needs a park,” said Keyetta Wright, 29, as she walked by the wrecked playground on Tuesday with her two children. “We were looking forward to going there.”
Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said the park was slated to open in conjunction with the upcoming beach season.
“I hope these animals are caught,” he said. “This was senseless vandalism.”
Construction crews spent Tuesday cleaning up and fixing the fence around the playground. Police officers also visited the site and spoke with workers.
City Councilman James Sanders Jr. visited the site and fumed about “the horror some creeps have wrecked” on the playground.
“If you would do this to the kids in your community, you really need to seek some professional help,” he said.
“This is one of the most gorgeous parks in one of the least served areas of the Rockaways,” said Sanders (D-Laurelton). “This is a dense area that has always had few amenities for people.”
Lewandowski said Parks Department officials are working with the Police Department to figure out who was behind the destruction.
She asked anyone with information to call the 101st Precinct at (718) 868-3400.