Even playgrounds with sprinklers nearly empty during scorcher

A few Stuy Town residents like Ryan, with son Tommy, braved the heat, heading out to the playground sprinklers to cool down. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A few Stuy Town residents like Ryan, with son Tommy, braved the heat, heading out to the playground sprinklers to cool down. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Can it be too hot to play in the sprinklers during a heat wave?

Town & Village found that it might be, in a recent visit to the water parks in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in the midst of the oppressive heat on Monday.

Stuy Town residents Dennis Mulligan and Anne Marie, who were out sitting in the shade by the Oval on Monday afternoon, said they noticed a mysterious absence in the playgrounds that day.

“No one’s outside,” Mulligan said. “It’s too hot. Even the kids aren’t out.”

The National Weather Service recorded the highest temperature in Central Park as 94 degrees Fahrenheit around noon on Monday, but officials warned that the combination of the high heat and humidity made it feel like it was over 100, creating dangerous conditions, especially for seniors.

Most of the non-sprinklered playgrounds in Stuy Town were desolate when this reporter went by, and Oval staff members who were stationed at the basketball courts in Playground 11 said that even the parks with sprinklers that were usually packed with kids were almost empty that afternoon.

“The moms and nannies probably don’t want to take the kids out because then they just have to sit at the sprinklers, melting themselves,” one of the staff members theorized.

Life-long Stuy Town resident Ryan, who was out with one-year-old Tommy, said that despite the heat, he tries to get outside with the little one as much as possible.

“He and I both get cabin fever,” he said. “People in the suburbs have cars with A.C. but we have to improvise.”

Michael O’Brien, another Stuy Town lifer who was with his son at Playground 2 in Peter Cooper Village, agreed.

“It was such a long winter that I made a promise to get out as much as possible,” he said.

O’Brien was keeping an eye on his three-year-old, Macdara, and said that when he was growing up in Stuy Town there were water parks then as well.

“It’s nice to be able to share the same thing with him,” O’Brien said.

The popular Asser Levy pool, however, was anything but deserted at the height of the heat. Pool supervisor Orlando Sanders said that this is the first time in the last few years that the pool has reached full capacity, resulting in the lobby of the recreation center being turned into a waiting room for eager swimmers.

On Sunday, the pool saw just over a thousand visitors throughout the whole day, with both the morning and afternoon sessions at capacity. Since the pool only allows 257 people at one time, there was some waiting involved as people cycled in and out, but Sanders said that no one was being asked to leave and the wait time was usually no more than 15 minutes to a half an hour.

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