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Harlem Sprinklers Cool Kids and Adults on Hot Summer Days

By Jeff Mays | July 15, 2013 7:47am
 From Thomas Jefferson Park on First Avenue in East Harlem to Jackie Robinson Park near 145th Street, Harlem's kids love their sprinklers.
Harlem Sprinklers
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HARLEM — Stephen Stalling, 10, and his brother Ken, 8, are very clear on what they like about the sprinklers at St. Nicholas Playground North.

"It's big and it's cold," the brothers said almost in unison just after ducking out of the gushing water at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 130th Street one muggy afternoon.

Their older brother Keishun Charles, 20, a college student, was in charge of his two little brothers and two cousins for the day, and decided that the sprinkler was the best place to wile away the afternoon.

"It's a good environment and a good sprinkler. It's big and they keep it clean," Charles said.

The sprinkler is one of several in Harlem that children and their parents love to frequent on hot summer days. From Thomas Jefferson Park on First Avenue in East Harlem to Jackie Robinson Park near West 145th Street, Harlem's kids love their spray showers.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a list of all the parks that have sprinklers.

At the Marcus Garvey Park playground on Mount Morris Park West and 124th Street, Tangia Robinson, 36, a store manager, ran in and out of the sprinklers with her niece Millionaire Villege, 5, to cool down.

The sprinkler is shaped as a colorful fish standing on its tail and spewing water in the air from its mouth.

"It gives them a chance to run around, but I should've brought a change of clothes," Robinson said.

"Me too. I'm wet," screamed Millionaire as she ran out of the sprinkler wiping water from her face and hair.

However, there were some malfunctions in Sprinkerland. Demont Reed, 26, a stay-at-home dad, left Morningside Park's playground at East 117th Street and Morningside Avenue with his very dry son Logan, 1.

The sprinkler at the park was broken and only light trickles of water were spraying from a sprinkler device attached to a garden hose.

"That little green thing is all they have," Reed said as he watched his son run around the park. "I like the sprinklers in Central Park at 110th Street."

But the playground there at East 110th Street is shut down while it undergoes a massive renovation that will include a shiny new water feature.

At St. Nicholas Playground North, Ken said he didn't know what he'd do for fun while trying to keep cool without the sprinklers. He looked at his cousins and then thought for a second.

"I would bring water guns to the park!" he said before running off back into the sprinkler.