Thursday, October 25, 2012

City Forced To Pay Family Of 1-Year-Old Burned In Brooklyn Bridge Park Playground

PAULA SPOLAR - Touched scorching metal.
Thirteen-month-old Paula Sporlar was burned when she touched scorching hot metal on the Pier 1 Playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.  Remarkably the city is not required to test materails installed in parks for surface heat. A judge required the City and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., to pay her family. 

April 7, 2010. Doe Fund employees install tents over the controversial metal domes in Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 Playground after thirteen-month-old Paula Sporlar suffered second degree burns. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

June 18, 2010. The metal orbs are covered and kept behind barricades  Critics had been calling for the removal of the domes since April.  When asked about the status of the domes at the opening of Pier 6 on June 5,  Regina Myer, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation replied, "To be honest  with you we have been working so hard here (Pier 6 Playground) there are some choices and we just haven't made decisions." 

Four months after children began getting their hands scorched on the brand new Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 playground park officials finally replaced the three steel climbing domes.  


The family of a young girl scorched by playground equipment in Brooklyn Bridge Park two years ago won a $17,500 settlement from the city yesterday, according to the New York Post. 
Paula Spolar was just over a year old when she suffered second-degree burns on both hands when she touched a sun-heated metal play dome inthe then-recently opened Brooklyn Bridge Park playground in June 2010.
“Clearly this was an irresponsible design that the public should not have been exposed to,” said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates. “The metal domes were like hibachi grills.”
The three metal domes were removed later that summer.
Kira Foley, 5, broke her nose and lost a tooth while playing on metal domes at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Not Just The Heat. Kira Foley, 5½, smashed her nose and lost a tooth playing on the metal domes within five minutes at the playground's opening on March 22, 2010.

The city tried to shift blame onto the playground designer by filing a third-party suit against Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in February, claiming that any negligence was the designer’s fault. Justice Sylvia Ash ordered the city and its development corporation overseeing the park to pay the settlement.
“Remember, it’s ‘Your Honor,’ ” dad Matthew Spolar whispered to Paula, 3, as he carried her into court.
“Hopefully this settlement will lead to safer parks for our children,” said attorney Gary Weinberg.
The attorney who represented the city and Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. declined to comment. Brooklyn Bridge Park and Van Valkenburgh Associates did not return a call for comment.
Same Designer, Same Problem.  May 1, 2010 - Union Square Park.  Children trying to cool their hands off after getting burned on the metal play feature, three weeks before the City even bothered to put up a sign. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

(May 17, 2010)  Union Square Park Caution Tape. Parents also worried about the potential of small children tripping and landing on their faces or other exposed body parts on the dangerously hot surface. They pointed out that tape and cones would not protect children from the scorching heat.
Parents Welcome Dome Back to Union Square After Safety Hazards had it Closed
The Big Cover-Up. The city was forced to cover up the much larger metal dome in Union Square Park because of the same heat problem. A massive green awning was installed above the six-foot high steel climbing dome designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh in Union Square playground at a reported cost of $ 100,000. The awning however does not cover the entire structure leaving part of the metal exposed to the sun. The City was finally forced to close the play feature on May 21, 2010 after it became dangerously hot as NYC Park Advocates first reported. A week earlier in Brooklyn Bridge Park, another Van Valkenburgh designed steel play orb had to be closed after a thirteen-month-old girl suffered second degree burns while touching it.  (Photo: Nicole Breskin/DNAinfo)
Read More:
New York Post - October 25, 2012 - By Josh Saul and Rich Calder 

A Walk In The Park - July 1, 2010

A Walk In The Park - May 24, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - June 29, 2010

A Walk In The Park -  June 22, 2010

A Walk In The Park - June 18, 2010 

A Walk In The Park - April 30, 2010 

A Walk In The Park - April 9, 2010 

A Walk In The Park - April 8, 2010

A Walk In The Park - April 7, 2010 

1 comment:

  1. I hope they donate some of the money to this organization writing critical pieces, advocating and researching!