By Brendan Krisel
HARLEM, NY — City officials are calling on the New York City Housing Authority to make repairs at a playground that services a day care center and pre-k facility.
Conditions at the playground next to the Grant Day Care Center, located within the General Grant Houses development on West 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, are so bad that some of the play structures are held together by tape, day care parent Natasha Hemmingway told Patch.
"These are two-to-five-year-old kids who use that playground," Hemmingway said. "Some of the structures are falling apart, the paint is peeling, it's just very abysmal and does not look like a children's playground."
In addition to a slide held together by tape, current conditions at the playground include cracked rubber protective tiles, stone fixtures with chipping paint and grass and weeds growing through the concrete.
Hemmingway decided to send her 3-year-old daughter to pre-k at the Grant Day Care Center in September because she liked the curriculum and could tell that the teachers were invested in the students. The playground wasn't on Hemmingway's mind when she made the decision, but now that her daughter uses the facility every day it prompted her to demand improvements from NYCHA.
"In my opinion I just don't think that's an appropriate playground for kids," Hemmingway said. "Really for anyone."
Hemmingway told Patch that she received a response from NYCHA saying that the playground's slide would be fixed, but that there was "no budget" for long-term upgrades at the facility.
City Councilman Mark Levine called for repairs at the neglected playground in a letter sent this week to NYCHA Chairman Stanley Brezenoff. The councilman described conditions at the playground as a "hazardous state of disrepair," and urged the NYCHA chairman to commit "substantial resources" for long-term improvements.
"Beyond simply fixing the current conditions, I ask that NYCHA commit substantial resources towards remodeling and improving the playground, which is one of the few accessible outdoor play spaces in our community," Levine wrote in the letter.