BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Poor drainage in the Upper East Side’s John Jay Park is worrying some community members.
At the July 17 Community Board 8 full-board meeting, during the meeting’s public session, a frequent user of the park spoke about about the flooding problem, and said he hoped that the city would “do the right thing” and tackle it sooner rather than later.
“If not addressed early, I fear that a body such as this will be confronted with a multiple-month and very expensive cleanup of this park,”said Joe Sullivan, an Upper East Side resident since 2001. Sullivan said his main concern is that the standing water would completely destroy the park’s play area and equipment. He added that the water had already started to erode the play area’s rubberized play surface over the last eight weeks, causing it to buckle. He mentioned the neighborhood’s lack of parks as another reason to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
“It’s becoming a safety hazard for kids, so far as tripping and falling,” Sullivan said.
Concerns about flooding in the park — located between E. 76th and E. 78th Sts. by the F.D.R. Drive — are shared by at least 12 dozen other families, according to Sullivan. After speaking at the C.B. 8 meeting, the park activist was then directed to the board’s Park and Waterfront Committee co-chairpersons, Barry Schneider and Tricia Shimamura, who reached out to the city Parks Department the following day. Councilmember Ben Kallos was informed of the issue and reached out to the city’s Parks Department, as well.
A Parks spokesperson said in an e-mail that the agency is aware of the issue at John Jay Park and worked on Fri., July 19, and Mon., July 22, on improving the situation by vacuuming out debris from park sewer lines and catch basins to help with drainage.
“We will continue to monitor the area and address any cases of excess rainwater,” the spokesperson stated. “If there is an issue, we suggest calling 311.”
In 2011, John Jay Park playground received $1.8 million worth of improvements, including new play equipment with a ship’s front, wavy decks, slides, bridges, a climbing net and a track ride (climbing/gliding structure). As part of the project, the park’s water-play area got new spray showers and spray hoops. The park was equipped with new swings, benches, a drinking fountain and foliage, as well.