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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

NYC Workers Welded Gates Shut At Children’s Park. Residents Rose Up, Took Back Playground.

New York City workers, frustrated that residents in Brooklyn kept taking their children to a city park, finally welded the gates shut.
The park, in a large Jewish community, had been the focus of city workers for some time as they tried to enforce lockdown orders. City playgrounds were shut down by Cuomo in a state order enacted April 1, when Cuomo took control out of the hands of city Mayor Bill de Blasio. The governor’s office said at the time that Cuomo took the step to prevent crowds from gathering.
But Cuomo allowed thousands to traipse through the city during protests over George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day in the custody of Minneapolis police, while de Blasio has come down hard on average citizens.
“How long can we keep our kids in prison?” asked one mom of six in the predominantly Hasidic area of Brooklyn, who declined to give her name, the New York Post reported. “I don’t feel like I live in a free country.”
One city worker was heard telling a parent: “We don’t know when it will open, but hopefully in a week or two. For now, it is closed,” The Post said.
The city had repeatedly padlocked the gates to the park, but residents broke through at least 25 times in just a few weeks. The Parks Department finally decided to weld the gates shut, although that didn’t last long.
“At this playground, a temporary measure was used to shut the playground after it was breached,” said Parks spokesman Anessa Hodgson in a statement. “It will be unwelded today and replaced with a lock.”
But within hours of a new padlock being put on the gates of the playground near Williamsburg, dozens of Hasidic locals crowded together and cheered when three men used bolt cutters to hack through, a video posted online shows.
“A SAD TALE OF 2 CITIES! mass gatherings without #SocialDistancing is allowed in Brooklyn but several blocks away parks in Hasidic neighborhoods are being shut not letting children breathe fresh air and sleep away camps are prohibited from opening #KidsLivesMatter<” HQSatmar wrote.
A SAD TALE OF 2 CITIES! mass gatherings without is allowed in Brooklyn but several blocks away parks in Hasidic neighborhoods are being shut not letting children breathe fresh air and sleep away camps are prohibited from opening
DEFYING @NYCMayor by forcibly opening Public parks in Hasidic neighborhoods and letting children breathe fresh air
826 people are talking about this
Community activist Gary Schlesinger also pointed out the double standard, The Post notes.
“You have tens of thousands of people marching with no social distancing and it feels like a tale of two cities,” he said. “Parents of kids which are the majority of people who live in this community are very angry about this because you are talking about large families confined to small apartments for weeks and weeks. The mayor’s office should be cognizant of this, but to him it’s the complete opposite.”

Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, who organized the Monday rally, issued the following statement: “When attending today’s rally, I said I believe that the playground should be open and said so very strongly. While I did not see the locks being cut, I understand the frustration which would lead that to happening. Our families do not feel that they are being heard. I see this rally as a peaceful message, with the clipping of the locks as a strong signal that the families are unhappy and fed up. They want activities for their children and they want to be heard. The city must come up with a better plan than cutting off access to playgrounds entirely.”

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