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Neighbors Ask NYPD to Lock Up Classon Playground at Night

By Janet Upadhye | February 3, 2014 11:52am
  Crowds of people remain at Classon Playground past its official closing time, according to neighbors. 
Classon Playground
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CLINTON HILL — A popular playground located next to the NYPD's 88th Precinct becomes a rowdy spot after closing time, where neighbors witness arguments and hear gunfire, they told the neighborhood's NYPD precinct commander last week.

Neighbors told 88th Precinct Commander Deputy Inspector Scott Henderson that Classon Playground — a park, playground and basketball court at the corner of Classon and Lafayette avenues in Clinton Hill — doesn't get locked up at night, causing problems for those who live nearby.

"I have heard a lot of arguments and, at times, gunfire coming from the playground," local D. Marshall told Henderson at the January precinct community council meeting last week. "I am very concerned because when I walk past at night people are still in the park even though the signs say it's closed."

After hearing from Marshall and several other concerned residents, Henderson promised he would keep an eye on the park — which officially closes at dusk — and contact the Parks Department if he witnessed any problems. 

"We do have some parks in the district that we lock up at night," he said. "So we can certainly address this issue."

But local Joe Gonzales said the Classon Playground is one of the only places where kids from Lafayette Gardens public housing complex — located across the street from the playground — can congregate. 

"These kids don't live in brownstones with backyards and patios," he said. "Public parks are what they have."

Still, Henderson said neighborhood safety is a priority.

"We try to make a balance between people who want to enjoy parks for recreation purposes and to enjoy the weather and people that look to come and have problems," he said. 

The Parks Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.