What do you think about the fact that the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) has kept the James J. Walker Park (at Hudson and Leroy Streets) locked up for a week or more after the last snow storm? I noticed while walking by that the snow was completely untouched in this massive public park. I checked the entrances and, sure enough, they were all chained shut.
I sent an email to NYC Parks inquiring about why this public space has been locked; in the past I’ve seen families frolicking in the snow there. Ralph Musolino, the Deputy Chief of Operations, wrote back:
“Thank you for your email in regards to the field at JJ Walker Park. We keep the field closed because dog walkers use it as a dog run and students from the neighboring school have been seen using it improperly. It is a public field and if you want to use it you can ask the recreation center to open it for you. The center is located on the corner of Clarkson [Street] and 7th Avenue South.”
This doesn’t sit well with me. We’ve got a childhood obesity epidemic in America, not to mention a growing addiction to all electronic devices. Should we really be chaining shut the one field available in the West Village? I’ve followed up with Ralph to learn what sort of deviant behavior could have caused a public asset like this to be shut down.
Update: I walked by the park today (January 19th) and found it to be unlocked. Sure enough, the entire field of snow was covered in new footprints and not one, but five, snowmen had been built or were in progress. Maybe this coincides with the warm weather and the park will be locked again tomorrow, or perhaps my note hit the mark.
Best, John Brozena