Doug Biviano – Danger at Pier 6

Doug Biviano: Danger at Pier 6 from Heather Quinlan on Vimeo.

New York State Assembly candidate Doug Biviano contacted us about safety issues with the newly-opened Pier 6: In addition to the knee-skinning gravel surface and bad sight lines between playground sections, Biviano also pointed out jagged boulders, potentially dangerous equipment and spots where he felt safety was sacrificed for design. He explains more in the video above—watch and have your say below.

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  • David G

    Unbelievable. This is a non-issue, issue. The reality is, there is no real danger from the screw, the wood, or the boulders. But since Biv doesn’t like the way the city and state are paying for the park, he scratches at anything he can get from the park politically. I don’t buy it. I don’t like it.

    The single most important issue for those kids, is going to be the the NY state budget. It’s a mess and the state is spending money on the stupidest things. Most recently, a $25 million loan for the raceway. Now they are talking about the possibility of NY state taking out a $6 to 9 Billion loan in order for them to pay for day to day operations. The Senate/Assembly wants to mortgage our state’s future. How come nobody is making a video about that?

  • ashton

    what a killjoy.

  • bornhere

    I would give Doug an”interesting point” on the water thing, but I can’t really get enthusiastic about the rest of his concerns. We can all cite hundreds of examples of unanticipated dangers in playgrounds when we were kids (or when our own were small), but good parenting and sense seemed to do the trick. And routine bumps and scrapes are, well, routine. Also, filming the video among visibly happy/engaged kids and parents who seem unriled and not in anxiety mode is an odd approach.

  • cat

    Within two days my 5 y.o. had scraped both shins and her back on the slippery boulders in the water section–and she’s an athletic kid, not a klutz.

    That aside, I am more concerned about getting there–in particular the “right turn on red after stop” at the eastbound entrance to the BQE on Atlantic. Those cars come flying down there–the sight line is not great. It is a disaster waiting to happen with all the kids and strollers going back and forth. Please, please tell me who to contact about making that red light a “NO right turn on red” light. It is just a no-brainer to fix that (at least during the hours the park is open).

    I also can’t understand how they opened Pier 6 with no restrooms. Even Pier 1 has some decent temporary restrooms. Pier 6 has port-a-potties that are truly disgusting. I’ve seen nannies allowing little boys to pee in the playground shrubbery rather than taking them to the p-a-p. Ick.

  • Joe

    Cat I agree the atlantic ave approach is an accident waiting to happen and needs to be fixed. The one time I went to meet my kids there I wound up taking the Joralomen entrance since its safer and the road is slower than the road going towards the BQE. I told my nanny to go that way as well. The bathroom situation also is a problem though I also think it helps somewhat with the crowd.

    That said Pier 6 is really wonderful and breaks the mold for the boring typical playgrounds around here. All the kids seem to be having a ball and my kids ask to be taken there everyday.

  • RJW

    What complete and utter nonsense. How much money is this guy going to waste in hearings, approvals and reengineering just to get his name out there. It’s just another example of a politician creating problems that don’t exist (to “fix”) while ignoring all the real ones.

  • Lori

    PLAYGROUND DESIGN is a specific talent and area, which LANDSCAPE DESIGN does not include. When I was on the playground committee many years ago when the Pierrepont Playground was being redesigned from the old type with monkey bars, sand boxes, etc. we hired a specific playground designer whose main consideration was safety. The minute I saw Pier 6 playground, I said, “These are accidents just waiting to happen”.

  • Rob

    I’m a parent and the concerns seem reasonable as my child is accident prone. They also seem like easy fixes. I also agree about the street crossings.

    You know what they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

  • Bryan

    Beautiful park. Nothing is perfect. The crossing on Atlantic Ave. is bad and needs to be fixed, but once the remainder of the park is completed, then I supposed that getting their from the north will be a non-issue. The fact that this politician decided to go out on a nice day when kids were clearly enjoying the park to point out how dangerous it is is comical.

  • Arch Stanton

    LOL… this clown calls himself an outdoorsman, since when are all the rocks in nature rounded, smooth and safe? How the hell are kids supposed to learn about the dangers of the real world with out getting a few bumps and scrapes…. My friends and I grew up at the Pierrepont & Squibb Playgrounds, back in the day with the seesaws, metal swings, sandboxes and monkey bars… all the apparatus considered “too dangerous” by todays standards… Sure we got hurt, even racked-up a few trips to the ER, but that’s how we learned to be safe…

  • Remsen

    I agree with Doug but think he should have some more important things to deal with. Round the corners, especially the dock in the water area where kids always seem to be running and is also a tad overcrowed at times. I never looked at the water screw before, but does seem to be a bit dangerous. The BQE traffic is probably the most dangerous issue though

  • Miky

    The playground is fabulous and my kid LOVES it. And while it is not as safe as some of the all rubberized and standardized playgrounds elsewhere, it is much, much safer than the playgrounds I grew up playing in. So the bad news for parents and nannies who were hoping to relax is that they actually have to pay attention to their kids. And periodically some kids will get hurt. I got hurt as a kid periodically and somehow survived long enough to respond to silly comments on blogs. So let’s appreciate the playground and keep an eye on our kids and hope that none of the injuries are serious.

  • Dudeface

    This reminds me of the Mainway toys skit on SNL where he tries to convince the reporter that a foam ball is more dangerous than the Johnny Swithblade Adventure Punk.

    Maybe the park should institute a rule where it is mandatory that kids dress up in giant inflatable bubble suits before entering the premises.

    Scrapes build character!

  • Joe Nardiello

    Many local parents are aware of a design-blunder nearby along the new Brooklyn Bridge park, of a play-element of 3 solid, silver-chrome mounds (about 3 ft high, and 10 ft in radius). The 3 mounds grew white-hot, like a baked potato would — only it was searing off skin on hands and knees. They had to be retro-fitted with a low tent over each for makeshift shade (which is not a permanent solution).

    While some readers ‘cannot get enthusiastic” about a topic, as a campaign issue — fine — but, the topic nevertheless is a citywide problem. This flaw in choices made, and placement (especially with the 10-ft. baking potatoes) had to be corrected — at add’l cost — and any critic could easily be asked to place their hands (where their mouth is) and carry the results of being wrong about something as simply as safety in playground design.

    Head-scratching, regarding design flaw is more widespread. Within a Brooklyn housing project, also covered in the media of late, local families pointed out that their playground featured a “jail” motif — something unusual for any inner city playgrounds that was taken as insensitive by the local residents, and remedied after it got airtime on NY1.

    Issues can be large, or small. It’s relative, but if you’re to be the one in a Long Island College Emergency room with a screaming 4 yr. old with a gash or injury, on a sweltering summer day — you’re choice would be, from now, to ensure safer public play areas for children.

    Doug Biviano makes considerable points, and speaking of points — installing sharp wooden edges designed for where toddlers, young children may run — is absurd. Rounding the edges changes the design flair, but you’d have to question why the platforms are there at all — which would be a slippery surface if the footwear or feet of children are still wet.

    Biviano’s brought his children there, experienced the place, recognized an issue and relayed it. He’s not attacking anyone, but offering a solution to help when other children use the space, as it grows in popularity. When a political figure speaks out, its usually with a more self-interested purpose (or showing the media that they were saying so, without a set solution). Politicians want to be SEEN as “fighters” — yet have scant records of winning any. He’s a current candidate and civic-minded to his credit. In this case, he’s alerted elected officials as a public citizen, before he’s alerted the Park Department. A complaint to 311 by anyone that feels the same way — is also a worthwhile action (put in place by the Mayor for community input).

    As a resident that’s born and raised here, I’ve seen many kids across the years get injured. While older residents can scoff and recall how much ‘tougher’ their childhood was because of injuries endured or avoided by see-saws, monkey-bars, iron swings… vs. an over-protective nature, today… it doesn’t change the fact that it’s senseless to design and install new & costly elements to park spaces in 2010 that well, as the toy industry says.. aren’t ‘kid-tested and parent approved’.

  • Monty

    Speaking of street crossing, the construction around Pier 1 is extremely dangerous. The only way into the park is via Doughty St which has no light and no stop sign and there are cars peeling off the BQE coming around a blind corner. Not to mention that the park and the landing were totally cut off this weekend and we had to go back and forth the dangerous crossing twice to get ice cream.

  • C’mon

    Ohhh… Ice cream!

  • Josh

    I think Biv brings up some good points. I’ve been to the park and the only one I personally noticed that he pointed out was the sharp corners on the raised platforms, especially the one in the water area. But the screw does seem to be particularly dangerous – I can see a kid turning it while another has his/her hand in the bottom. While I also agree that kids are going to get scrapes and bruises, if you can prevent it easily, why not? Especially when the cost of not doing anything will probably result in a lawsuit against the city that will certainly be more costly than fixing these small oversights. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sleazy lawyer just spending his days down there waiting for an accident to occur.

  • Joe

    BTW I have no complaints about Doug’s intentions. He is a local father and seems like an overall nice guy. So though there may be a little politicking going on here, I’m sure there is also genuine concern for the children as well.

    I’m not sure what could be done about the boulders but the water wheel and wooden platforms looks like it can be remedied easily and with little cost but the road crossings needs to be a priority considering the volume of people I see crossing there daily.

  • http://loureads.com Lou

    It’s called an Archimedean screw. You’re just guessing that a kid could get his hand caught in there. Super unlikely. Not saying its impossible but of all the ways to hurt yourself in a water park with all those kids going nuts that seems like the least of the worries.

    Anyway, smooth wet boulders are are more hazardous for kids to run on that rough ones. At least the rough ones have a place for your feet to catch.

    Certainly there are more local pressing issues in the area.

  • ABC

    The issue with the screw is that the park is so popular that a kid has a foot or hand down there and a different kid is turning it and it gets stuck. I’ve seen it happen twice already and luckily the kid stopped once someone screamed STOP! but smaller kids wont yell stop and smaller ( or brattier) kids won’t stop immediately when they’re told.

    It’s a great park. It takes a lot more helicoptering than I like to do as a parent — a lot of wet rocks and sharp corners. But it is a great park.

  • liam

    oh dear !
    the kids are going to scrape their knees playing!
    he’ll probably also find peanut residue there and rile up
    all those yuppy parents too !

  • my2cents

    Kids need to get mildly hurt now and then as they play. This is how you learn your limits. I certain had my share of bumps, scrapes, and bruises, and I wouldn’t go back and change any of those experiences. I miss the huge spiral slide they took out of my hometown playground for fear of lawsuits. Today’s kids don’t know what they’re missing. Thrills and Spills!
    I completely agree with the concerns about crossing Atlantic avenue. I bike near there a lot, and it is really scary sometimes as people treat the red light at the entry lamps as a green arrow even when the walk sign is displayed. This was fine back when no pedestrians really ventured down there, but now with all the kids, I think some tweeks to the lights are in order. Also, a bike lane on Furman street is not a bad idea til the park is ready.

  • my2cents

    sorry, I meant “entry RAMPS” not “entry lamps!”

  • my2cents

    Does anyone also see the irony that while playgrounds are getting so overly safe, there is a parallel rise in the building of skate parks for older kids, where they can really do some skull-cracking damage?

  • nabeguy

    IMHO, Lori is the only one who seems to understand why this park has problems. You don’t hire a landscape artist to design a playground, simple as that. Sure, an Archimedean screw looks cool, but Biviano isn’t “guessing” when he points out its potential for harm. The only safety feature it seems to possess is its proximity to the LICH emergency room.

  • cat

    I agree with Lori as well. Design trumped safety. I believe they could have kept the aesthetics and still made the playground safer. (It’s a lovely space and so wonderfully different from all the other playgrounds in the nabe.) I did hear today that a child slipped on the rocks in the water park and got 11 stitches where he split his mouth and chin. Not exactly “Thrills and Spills!” for this kid.

    There were three DOT(?) officials out on Atlantic Ave. this afternoon checking out the intersection. I told them the “right turn on red” is extremely dangerous, and they said that’s one of the things they are looking at. So glad they are on top of this–a very pedestrian un-friendly walk to the new park.

  • anon

    For what it is worth, the NY Hall of Science outdoor Science Playground has an Archimedes screw, which also uses water. I’ve not seen any injuries: http://www.nysci.org/explore/exhibitions/sciencePlayground/sciencePlaygroundExhibits. It is a great place to visit, by the way.

    This doesn’t take away from Pier 6, which is simply a somewhat dangerous place for kids.

    And for those who think skinned knees builds stronger kids, you may be interested in this very book: “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children”, which effectively preaches this point (http://www.amazon.com/Blessing-Skinned-Knee-Teachings-Self-Reliant/dp/0142196002). However, I don’t think the author had hot metal orbs or tall slippery rocks in mind when she wrote the book.

  • my2cents

    You guys, does anyone know that they didn’t hire a playground designer to do this area? I’m pretty sure that on a park this scale with a city contract, they would have had some sort of specialist design this feature, or at least sign off on it for liability reasons. The Landscape design firm can always hire subcontractors, y’know.
    So even if some people think it looks unsafe, that doesn’t mean it is. When people design stuff, they actually think about the user, and the scnarios of use. I know that is shocking to many people, but not all beautiful things were designed with no thought to the user.

  • nabeguy

    my2, I raised this issue a couple of months ago with the Pier 1 problems, and nobody stepped up to argue against my landscape/playground design dichotomies, so I’m going to stick by my original contention that Van Valkenberg was in complete control of all design aspects of this park. Show me the city “specialist” who signed off on this, and we can start the discussion there.

  • ABC

    I was told that they didn’t hire a playground consultant — question was asked during an interview related to the domes.

    While I completely agree kids need to fall down and scrape their knees, I think people here are pointing out things above and beyond. I don’t mind the concrete sandbox or the lack of shade, but the squared off edges on the platforms and pioneer homes seem an odd design choice.. And the rocks are slippery. Hey, I’ve been to Pier 1 playground twice and Pier 6 playground twice and in the 4 visits, I’ve seen two kids taken to the ER for stitches. I’ve been to other Brooklyn playgrounds hundreds of times and only seen that twice before.