Sprinklers at Two Hunters Point Playgrounds Still Closed by Sandy Damage

By Jeanmarie Evelly on July 9, 2013 9:05am 

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 The sprinklers at Gantry State Park and Andrews Grove are still off, to the disappointment of parents.
Popular Hunters Point Spray Parks Still Closed
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HUNTERS POINT — Water, water, everywhere — but not a drop to run through.

The playground sprinklers at Long Island City's popular waterfront Gantry Plaza State Park are still bone-dry, as the state's Parks Department continues to repair equipment that was damaged last fall during Hurricane Sandy.

The park is the second in the neighborhood where equipment is still shuttered by storm damage. The spray showers at nearby Andrews Grove — where felled trees during Sandy damaged half the playground — are also still fenced off, leaving neighborhood parents with few places to cool down.

That leaves Murray Playground, with its tree-shaped spray showers, on 45th Avenue and 21st Street near Court Square on the northern edge of the neighborhood, as the nearest park where kids can cool down.

"It was a big disappointment. There's not too many other places to go," said mom Yuri Suzuki, who brings her son Riki, 2, to Gantry Park from their home in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.

"We come here because it's such a beautiful park," she said, saying they're eagerly anticipating the spray park's reopening. "We can't wait."

The high-tech spray showers debuted at the Gantry Park playground last July, complete with an on-duty lifeguard and a button that allows children to control the sprinklers' water pressure.

But the equipment was damaged by saltwater that flooded the park during Hurricane Sandy, according to David Brito, a regional director for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

"It's still being repaired," he said, adding that they don't have a timeline for when the spray park will re-open. "We're hoping it's going to be soon."

Bill Bylewski, of the neighborhood volunteer group Friends of Gantry Park, said flooding during last fall's storm essentially wiped out the park's entire electrical system.

"We had more damage from Sandy than we initially thought," he said.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away at 49th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, neighborhood playground Andrews Grove — known to locals as "Shady Park" — still has much of its playground closed off, including its concrete water sprinklers.

The city's Parks Department started repairs at Andrews Grove in mid-June, and a spokesman said at the time that the renovations would take about a month, depending on weather conditions.

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