Gantry Park's Sandy-Damaged Sprinklers Briefly Open but Then Close Again
HUNTERS POINT — Long Island City parents got a burst of relief Monday when the children's sprinklers at Gantry Plaza State Park turned on for the first time this summer — but then the spray showers were closed off again the next day.
The waterfront "sprayground" had been closed since last fall, when it was damaged by saltwater that flooded the park during Hurricane Sandy. The problem appeared to be fixed earlier this week when the sprinklers were finally spouting water again and open to frolicking kids.
But on Tuesday, though the spray showers were still flowing, they were blocked off with barricades, to the disappointment of neighborhood parents.
"The issues were supposed to be resolved," said mom Robin Halsey, who lives near the playground, where she frequently brings her 28-month-old daughter Elizabeth.
"We've used it once, and it's the end of July," she said. "Hopefully they'll come back on."
A spokesman for the state parks department said that while workers have replaced the equipment that was damaged by Sandy, they're still working out some kinks.
"While we were successful in rebuilding the sprayground, adjustments are still being made to the new system," spokesman Randy Simons said in an email, adding that they are "extremely aware of the importance of this sprayground" and are "working fast and furious to get it open again."
The high-tech spray showers first debuted at the Gantry Park playground last summer, complete with an on-duty lifeguard and a button that allows children to control the sprinklers' water pressure.
The park isn't the only one in the neighborhood where equipment is still shuttered by storm damage. The spray showers at nearby Andrews Grove, known to locals as "Shady Park," are are also still fenced off.
The city Parks Department started making repairs at Andrews Grove in mid-June, though construction has been delayed by rain and the recent heat wave, according to a Facebook post by the neighborhood group Friends of Shady Park.
The park is expected to fully reopened sometime in August, according to the group.