Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
Swing down, swing up, swing down
After more than a month of discussion, the tire swing in West Thames Park was taken down: this time, by the New York State D.O.T. itself.
The D.O.T. removed a tire swing that was the subject of debate since the park’s re-opening on Memorial Day weekend. After an incident involving two children, an incensed local resident, the father of one of the children, took down the swing himself. The D.O.T. responded by putting it back up four days later. They have now taken it down again, in compliance with requests from the Battery Park City community.
“We recognize that there are still some questions about the dimensions of the tire swing, and whether it’s safe for the kids to go on,” said D.O.T. spokesperson Adam Levine.
A ten-year-old was pushing three small children on a tire swing in West Thames Park on May 28, when two of the children smacked their heads on the supporting wooden beam.
“The fact that you put it up there with the ribbon-cutting ceremony…really annoyed me,” said Bill Schoenmaker at Tuesday night’s Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meeting, whose child came home that day with a large bump on her head.
“I took this swing down that night, and I’ll take it down again. This thing is a nuisance.”
Schoenmaker and a few other parents attended the committee meeting on Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the new park’s tire swing, which was erected again by the D.O.T. on June 1.
The Department also spoke with the manufacturer of the device, who confirmed that the swing follows all safety regulations.
“There have been no reported incidents in either Central Park or at the Riverdale Country School,” said Lisa Weiss, urban design director of the Route 9a project.
But Justine Cuccia, a parent of the second child that hit her head, said that children using the swing risk being injured. “I’m very upset that the tire swing is back up again,” she said.
The B.P.C. Committee decided to create a working task force to come up with an alternative to the tire swing in a motion that was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s meeting.
“They put up a piece of equipment that’s according to the specs, but we have enough evidence here that [the swing] seems to be a problem,” said Anthony Notaro, a B.P.C. Committee member. “I think at this point we really should have it removed, until we have an alternative.”
Schoenmaker was pleased with the outcome. “I don’t get why it was put up again, but I’m satisfied,” he said following the meeting.
— Aline Reynolds