Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Fallout From Brooklyn Bridge Park's 'Dangerous' Metal Domes

With temps soaring, Melanie Simon, 64, reacts after touching metal dome at Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO.
Melanie Simon, 64, reacts after touching metal dome at the two week old Brooklyn Bridge Park Playground at Pier 1. Apparently neither the City, State nor the park's designer, landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates realized that metal in exposed sun would cause extreme heat and would not be suitable for small children in a public playground. Officials were forced to erect temporary tents over the structures yesterday afternoon under intense media scrutiny. But within hours, the sun had shifted so that the domes were once again hot. (Photo: Noonan for NY Daily News)

The sleek play equipment in a gleaming new Brooklyn waterfront park doesn't just get scorching hot, it's also treacherous, according to the Daily News. 

Five-year-old Kira Foley broke her nose and knocked out a tooth on the controversial metal climbing domes in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, just hours after it opened late last month.

Kira Foley, 5, broke her nose and lost a tooth while playing on metal domes at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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.  The family is still waiting for a response from Regina Meyer, head of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp. which is building the park. 

"[The domes are] not safe," said Kira's dad, Robert Foley, 39, of Brooklyn, who fired off a letter March 23 demanding testing data showing the equipment is safe for kids. "They look innocuous, but they're really dangerous."

Foley said he is still awaiting a response from the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., which is building the swanky park at the foot of Old Fulton St. in DUMBO.

Instead, all he's gotten is a call from the park's insurance company telling him how to put in a claim.

"It's not a money issue," said Foley, whose family is covered by insurance. "I just want them removed."

The Daily News reported yesterday that parents are fuming over the new playground - designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates - because the metal domes get so hot on sunny days that kids cry when they touch them.

"Within five minutes of being here, [my daughter] burned her leg," said Jennifer Bollard, 37, a mom from New Jersey who traveled to check out the much-hyped park with her kids, Julie, 3, and Jonathan, 7.

Read More:

New York Daily News - April 8, 2010 - By Jeff Wilkins & Elizabeth Hays

Brooklyn playground takes heat for equipment temps 
WABC Eyewitness News - April 07, 2010 - By Sandra Bookman

WNBC News - April 7, 2010 - By Tim Minton

CBS News - April 7, 2010 -  Cindy Hsu 

New York Post - The Brooklyn Blog - April 7, 1010 -  By Rich Calder

New York Daily News - April 7, 2010 - By Elizabeth Hays  


  1. Those things don't even LOOK safe. I can picture a kid's feet flying out from under him/her & the kid cracking his/her head on this thing. Woops! It's happened aleady. And the City obviously does not care - another day, another lawsuit. What are they waiting for - skull fractures and brain injuries? Why isn't anyone held accountable? How did Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates get away with this crap?

  2. We're sorry to see Kira injured. Our kids attend PS8 and girl scouts with Kira and her sister. What happened to Kira is absolutely awful, yet predictable.

    Upon our first visit to the playground on a cold rainy weekend in late March, we feared the slick wet surfaces would be a problem as our kids pranced about them. Despite the cold, other parents and friends immediately identified that they'd be super hot in the sun. The domes were so odd and the curves of the matting more complex than functional that beyond anticipating injury they stoked larger concerns that I have had for the park.

    Frankly, the domes are just one of the smaller examples of an abstract park design detached from community input and would be users of the park. In this case, it resulted in injury and most definitely in waste as well. Stock Stainless Steel items are a real fortune, never mind custom architectural shapes. Are they going to be removed and scrapped or are we to rely on seedling trees to grow in salt-air on water's edge? Remember what happened to the trees with the saltwater waterfalls? Ever see the harbor in a north wind?

    But the real waste -- and perhaps a primary reason the park is hundreds of millions of dollars in cost and needs to be built in phases -- is all of the fill and earthwork to build three-story mountains on the waterfront that look as unnatural as a landfill on Jamaica Bay. Landfills and berms are simply not natural features on river fronts and I wonder why they were ever part of the design elements and continue to be in this economic crisis.

    To save tens of millions of dollars in waste, there is still time to scrap the three-story berm planned to run the length of Furman Street. Instead, two affordable baseball diamonds can be built or some other active use features determined by the community stake holders, not architects and Albany run development corporations.

    Doug Biviano
    Brooklyn Heights

  3. This is what happens when the people who planned and now who will run this park are not park-people. The Economic Development Corporation built this project and they did it for luxury condo towers that are going to be built inside this "park". The playgrounds were a total afterthought, after years of community outrage that all the recreation they had wanted in Brooklyn Bridge Park was put aside in favor of berms and landscaping (for condos). Even the ball courts on Pier 2, also long advocated, are not funded (so much for the NY Times getting any story right). The Mayor wants housing inside our "parks" so until the parents of PS 58 and other schools start voicing their needs vocally, there will not be anything for kids of any age to really do in this park - or worse, it will be "designed" to garner awards and be dangerous for children, like this one seems to be. A darn shame after 26 years of "planning".

  4. This isn't much different than parks commissioner Benepe replacing grass sports fields with artificial recreational surfaces - artificial turf is known to get as hot as 160 degrees! What is this numbskull thinking?! Despite children getting burned on these fields, he is still installing them at an alarming rate. Don't expect him to do anything about these metal domes any time soon.