Still No Sprinkler Relief for Sunset Park Patrons
But even after the mercury climbed to 92 degrees Friday, and the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Saturday's "potentially dangerous" 98-degree predicted temperatures, no water sprayed from the playground's sun-shaped sprinkler or water fountain.
"It's hard for the kids, with the heat. They need water to get some hydration," said Oscar Pascual, 35, who brought his nephews and 5-month-old son to the park's playground Friday afternoon. "It's July already."
City rules require the Parks Department to turn on playground sprinklers any time temperatures reach 80 degrees. It's one of the only inexpensive ways for New York families to stay cool, and after DNAinfo New York first reported June 22 that Sunset Park was perhaps the only park in New York City to not have its sprinkler turned on during that week's three-day heatwave, the Parks Department offered comment in an email:
"There was a leak in the water line that feeds the sprinkler in Sunset Park," spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said two weeks ago. "We made the repairs, and it will be back on tomorrow."
However, in an email sent Friday afternoon, Lalor attributed the dry sprinkler and water fountain to a nearby construction project overhauling some of the park's walking paths, baseball fields and a comfort station.
"The water service has not been replaced yet," she stated.
Nevertheless, park-goers remained frustrated. "It's irresponsible," said Priscilla Reyes, 25, who walked with her two sons and their friends to the playground. "It should be on. It's too hot for the kids."
Water did flow from a spray-shower mounted in a large splash area adjacent to the Sunset Park pool. But as Reyes pointed out, "It's easier for us to watch the kids here in the playground. There's a fence, it's smaller, it's more protective."
A spokesman for Councilwoman Sara M. Gonzalez, whose district includes Sunset Park, agreed that the sprinkler and water fountain are "needed now, and in the coming days." He added that Gonzalez has previously allocated as much as $8 million for renovations to the park.