By Sabina Mollot
Since the opening of the new fitness playground in Stuyvesant Town on August 1, management has been taking the space’s age restrictions seriously, by putting some parents on notice.
Over the weekend, we heard from David Dartley, a resident who was irked to receive a letter from management he described as “creepy,” that asked him to keep his too-young kid out of the playground.
The letter, signed from Public Safety Chief William McClellan, read, in part, “As we’re of the belief that your child was observed on the Fitness Playground this past weekend, we respectfully ask that you adhere to the policies for the good of all residents who wish to work out without interference from unsupervised children.”
Dartley admitted to us that his kids were on the playground, explaining that he saw other young children there too, and figured the worst thing that could happen is for them to get kicked out. The playground is restricted to users who are 15 and up as well as 12-14 with parental supervision.
Dartley, who also isn’t happy about the age restrictions, said the letter made him wonder how management knew who he and his kids were, from the key-card he used to get in or surveillance cameras.
“One of the only plausible scenarios I can imagine is that PCVST actually used camera images to identify who I was using only my appearance. And I’m aware of one other family that is similarly creeped out,” said Dartley. He also posted about his experience on the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association Facebook page where other parents piped in to say they too had gotten a note. Other comments offered a variety of opinions on whether kids should be at the playground as well as wondering why management was strictly enforcing this particular policy as opposed to cracking down to people who don’t clean up after their dogs or cover their floors.
Some longterm residents may find the letter reminiscent of the days when Met Life used to do the same thing, alerting parents if their kids had been caught breaking a rule like walking on the grass.
Asked about the letters to residents, a spokesperson for SPS would only say the age restrictions are necessary to ensure the safety of those using the playground. McClellan’s letter also said as much, citing the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. Bikes, scooters and skateboards are also off-limits.
The new playground, formerly known as Playground 7 or the hockey playground, includes a looped track, an obstacle course with tires, stationary cardio machines, upper body training tools and core and abdominal exercise benches.
In related news, last Thursday, in one of its newsletters to residents, StuyTown property Services erroneously stated Town & Village had erroneously published information about the age restrictions at the new fitness playground. We did no such thing. The article the newsletter referred to, “All playgrounds in ST/PCV to be renovated,” in T&V’s August 3 issue, didn’t even mention the playground’s age restrictions at all.
There was, however, a quote from General Manager Rick Hayduk about how the playground was designed for a multi-generational crowd.
The statement: “Regardless of age anyone can use this playground. We said it’s got to be able to function for a 25-year-old American ninja wannabe as well as a 70-year-old who wants to improve their balance and strength,” Hayduk said at the playground’s opening.
Management has previously stated the playground’s age restrictions and they are posted alongside the playground.