On Wednesday, Stuyvesant Town’s management told Town & Village that the company ZogSports, which had been holding events in playgrounds that at least in one instance shut out residents, would no longer be doing so.
The company was cut loose from the property following a flurry of complaints from residents about one woman being shut out of Playground 3, while she was with her children.
The woman, Stephanie Smith, had posted about the situation on the STPCV Tenants Association’s Facebook Page on Tuesday.
“I went with my children to play ping pong this evening,” Smith wrote. “We were told the playground is closed because an organization called ZogSports was using it. Not a single ping pong table was being used; it was only basketball and volleyball. When I protested that we were residents and should be allowed to use the open tables, the rec employee told me that the Zog people ‘pay a lot to use this space’. He also told me to talk to his boss if I have a problem with it. I did bring my kids into the playground and we did play some games, but it felt uncomfortable. I left an irate message at the rec office with my name and number but I was wondering if there was anything else I can do. Is it really ok for a private, paying organization to take over our public playground? Thanks for any suggestions.”
In response to the complaints, Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said the company hadn’t been renting out the space but was permitted to hold events in a few different playgrounds for a few nights a week in exchange for sports equipment that would be donated to the property. Residents could participate in the programs by signing up through Zog, he added.
However, by late Wednesday, that arrangement, which predates CW’s control of ST/PCV, was no more.
“They reviewed park usage based on complaints and given concerns they will discontinue Zog usage of their facilities,” said DePlasco.
Meanwhile, the shut-out had triggered enough attention that even Council Member Dan Garodnick made an inquiry into the issue.
On Thursday, he told T&V, “We appreciate CWCapital’s attention to this issue. Playgrounds must be available for residents and their guests.”
Along with Stuyvesant Town, ZogSports, which calls itself a charity-focused league on its online bio, holds events at a number of locations around the city. Washington Irving High School, the playground used by Simon Baruch Middle School and the playground used by P.S. 19. are just a few.