EAST HARLEM — Kids had to play basketball in pitch darkness after the lights in part of Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park failed to come on Wednesday evening.
Park-goers were seen about 5:30 p.m. using the flashlights from their cell phones to guide themselves out of the Madison Avenue section of the greenspace where street lights stayed dark.
The other section of the park, along Mount Morris Park West, was lit normally.
Bridget Ellsworth, an East Harlem resident who visits the park often to walk her dog, said the light issues have been happening for weeks.
Ellsworth, 30, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years, said one light has been off for as long as she can remember.
“I’ve never really worried,” she said. “If I’m here at night usually there’s other people.”
She said she’s learned from longtime residents that the park has become safer than it used to be.
She said the lights typically come on closer to 8 p.m., though during the winter it gets dark much earlier than that.
She did say the light issue is worrisome since kids continue to come through the park after school.
When a DNAinfo New York reporter returned to the park around 8 p.m., some of the lights in the darkened area had turned on, particularly around the basketball court, but many remained off.
This is not the first time a city park has had a lighting snafu. Last summer, a timer issue at West Harlem’s Jackie Robinson Park left lights blazing during the day and in complete darkness during the night.
This past fall, broken lights in Central Park and Prospect Park raised safety concerns among a group of joggers.
Although the Parks Department maintains the city's greenspaces, the lighting is handled by the Department of Transportation.
The parks department submitted work orders for 15 lights at the park on Jan. 3, a spokeswoman said, but she hadn't been given a date for them to be fixed.
A DOT spokeswoman said the agency is repairing the lights at the park and expects the work to be completed in the next few days.