Kids Play in 'Unsanitary' Pool After Drains Clog at TriBeCa's Pier 25

By Julie Shapiro on June 28, 2012 12:06pm 

Kieran, a 20-month-old TriBeCa resident, waded into the water play area on PIer 25 June 27, 2012.
Kieran, a 20-month-old TriBeCa resident, waded into the water play area on PIer 25 June 27, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

TRIBECA — Swim at your own risk.

Clogged drains in the water play area at TriBeCa's Pier 25 have created a stagnant wading pool — alarming health-conscious parents who fear their children are splashing in dirty waters.

On Wednesday afternoon, about half a foot of water came up almost waist-high for some of the diaper-wearing kids who splashed happily in the sprinkler play area — which opened just last year on the brand-new pier at North Moore Street and the Hudson River.

Parents and caregivers said they fear the accidental pool — which collects each day because of poor drainage at a sloped section in the eastern end of the water area — is unsanitary and could make their kids sick.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it," said Rotem Shachar, 36, a SoHo resident who brought her 16-month-old daughter to play in the park on Wednesday.

"It's very dirty," agreed Lucy Gonzalez, 45, a nanny from Queens who was watching a 2-year-old boy from TriBeCa. "It's disgusting."

The water play area features spray fountains, water pumps and suspended buckets that automatically fill with water and tip onto shrieking children's heads.

Visitors said the run-off water pools up slowly as the drains get clogged  over the course of the day, reaching max capacity each afternoon, and slowly draining away overnight. Dirt and sand collect around the edges of the pool and by late afternoon the water is often cloudy, parents said.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which built the pier and is responsible for maintaining it, is looking into the drainage issue, a spokeswoman said in an email.

"The Trust is already aware of concerns about the drainage in the Pier 25 play area," the spokeswoman said, "and is responding in two ways: closer monitoring of the drainage system to ensure it’s not obstructed, and by looking at ways to redesign it and similar drainage systems."

The agency is lowering the water levels on some of the water features so there is less run-off, the spokeswoman said. The trust also installed signs asking people not to bring drain-clogging sand from the playground into the water play area.

Many parents and caregivers thought the pool was an intended feature of the park, and they were concerned to hear that the water is not circulated or cleaned.

"That's disconcerting, absolutely," said Jude, a TriBeCa mom who brought her 2-year-old son Nye to the park on Wednesday. "That makes it unsanitary."

She looked over at her son who was splashing happily in the deepest part of the pool, which nearly went up to his waist, and added, "He doesn't seem to care."

Some parents said they didn't think the flooded play area was any more dangerous than a sandbox or other places where kids congregate and share germs.

"It is a little gross," said Kristin O'Brien, 32, a TriBeCa resident who brought 20-month-old Kieran to the pier on Wednesday. "But if he wades in for a little bit, I'm OK with it."

Margaret Miller, 31, an East Village babysitter, said the accidental pool didn't bother her — or the 5 and 7-year-old boys she was watching.

"I thought it was on purpose," Miller said. "I was like, 'Oh, look, they clogged it up.'

"But we play in the Washington Square fountain, so we don't have high standards."

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