By Julie Shapiro
BATTERY PARK CITY — The new playground in West Thames Park is already missing its tire swing, after two children were hurt on it shortly after the park opened last Friday.
Justine Cuccia, a Battery Park City resident, said her 8-year-old daughter and two other children were riding the tire swing Friday evening when the accident occurred.
A young girl pushed the swing for the three friends, and on the third push Cuccia’s daughter cracked her head against the wooden beam that supports the tire. Before the children could stop the swing, it shot back up toward the beam and knocked a second child in the head. Both children sustained large lumps, Cuccia said.
“The tire swing is just not designed right,” she said Tuesday night at a meeting of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee.
Cuccia said the problem is that the swing’s chain is too short.
A Parks Enforcement Patrol officer guarded the swing after Friday night’s accident to make sure no one used it, but on Saturday morning children were playing on it again, so a concerned parent took the swing down.
Lisa Weiss, a design director with the State Dept. of Transportation, which built the park, said she is working with the swing manufacturer to find a solution. She said DOT installed the swing correctly and it passed all inspections.
“Until we resolve why it happened, we’re not going to put it back up,” Weiss said.
Cuccia was one of the chief opponents of the new park and fought last fall to prevent the demolition of the beloved old playground, known as Tire Swing Park. She did not convince the state to save the old park’s wooden play equipment or mature trees, but she and others did convince the state to install a real tire swing in the new park.
“Figures it’s my kid,” Cuccia said. “I was the most vocal person against [the new park].”