RANDALL’S ISLAND — Leave the sunscreen at home, Randall’s Island Park has you covered.
The park alliance announced a new pilot program in which 25 sunscreen dispensers will be installed throughout the park starting on Labor Day to minimize the risk of skin cancer.
It is the first park in the city to do so.
“Over 3.5 million people visit Randall’s Island Park each year and over 700,000 children play sports on our many athletic fields,” said Aimee Boden, president of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance and the city’s park administrator for Randall’s Island Park.
“It is important to make sure that everyone has access to appropriate skin protection.”
The program, officials said, would give visitors access to a much-needed resource at the park.
The pilot program will provide approximately 140,000 people with SPF 30 sunscreen, the alliance said.
The 480-acre park has been transformed into a recreational hub over the years, with dozens of playing fields, running and biking tracks. It has also been the home of the three-day Governors Ball Music Festival since 2012.
The dispensers are battery-powered, automatic and built to withstand bad weather, the alliance said.
The dispensers also feature an infrared sensor, unbreakable mirror and a refill good for 1,000 applications.
The move was a step forward, said city Comptroller Scott Stringer, who issued a report this past June calling for sunscreen dispensers to be installed at the city’s parks and beaches to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Stringer’s report said New Yorkers are at possible risk for cancers due to the city enjoying, on average, 234 days of sunshine per year, similar to cities such as Montgomery, Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Particularly in the summer months, residents are at “high risk” due to unprotected sun exposure, the report said.
“Free sunscreen… will help reduce the risk of skin cancer and allow all of the park’s visitors to safely enjoy its outdoor spaces as summer transitions into fall,” Stringer said.
“I applaud the Melanoma Foundation of New England and the Randall’s Park Alliance for bringing free public sunscreen to a New York City park, and hope that more parks, pools and playgrounds will see sunscreen dispensers in future summers.”