BREAKING: Sunset Park playground to open this summer

It’s coming sooner than expected!

After word that the Sunset Park playground would be closed for another summer, the New York City Parks Department has revealed that part of it will in fact be open by June, with the full area to be completed by July.

“Parks is happy to share an update on the opening of Sunset Park Playground,” said an agency spokesperson in a statement. “We anticipate opening a small swing set portion in June and in July, opening the playground in its entirety.”

In addition, there will also be activities for kids during construction, including Summer Movies: Under the Stars on Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m., the Summer Sports Experience, the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival Community Screening, and more.

The play area, which began its long-awaited reconstruction in April of 2016, was slated to open this spring, then June 1, and was then scheduled to open in September, much to the dismay of Sunset Park parents and children, some of whom learned about the delay during Community Board 7’s Wednesday, April 19 monthly meeting.

The board discovered the setback, according to District Manager Jeremy Laufer, after visiting the New York City Parks Department’s site that tracks the progress of the construction, which currently reads that it is 36 percent complete.

However, the revised opening was a relief for Laufer and CB 7. “Our children and families of Sunset Park deserve the best outdoor spaces and amenities we can provide,” the board said in a statement. “We are thrilled to learn that NYC Parks has come up with a solution to prevent the children of our community from going another entire summer without the use of the playground in Sunset Park. We are grateful to Parks for providing additional recreational activities for the children and families of this community and we will continue to work together on a satisfactory conclusion to this project and others in the community. We will also continue to work with Parks to improve communication and accountability, especially with regard to capital projects.”

“I thank NYC Parks leadership for responding to community calls for an expedited schedule so construction delays don’t mean a second summer of lost access,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “Parks will now provide alternative recreation equipment and programming while the project is completed.

The playground didn’t get to this point without some nudging from the community.

Livid at both the lack of communication and the long delay, Sunset mother and assistant principal at FDR High School Elizabeth Messmann had organized a rally on Saturday, April 21 outside the gated playground.

“For children, playgrounds are a big part of socialization, and even parents socialize,” she said. “It’s a place for neighbors to congregate. I think as an educator, you see firsthand the snowballing effect of not having quality outdoor space for students.”

Her husband Victor, who has followed the lack of progress from the beginning, had also voiced his frustration. “I have a three-year-old and that’s my main motivation,” he said. “We were promised it was going to be reopened for the spring this year. That park services thousands of kids. It’s always crowded. The only green space at a playground is like 34 blocks away.”

Elizabeth believes the Sunset community needs to be more of a priority. “The community isn’t that quick to mobilize for whatever reason,” she said. “There may be some apathy among the constituency because they are not used to getting treated as other neighborhoods are treated. If it was happening to neighbors to the north or south, people would be mobilizing in larger numbers, and forcing the issue. There’s no accountability or oversight for the Parks Department here.”

The $3 million-plus renovation, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio and  the City Council, will bring new play equipment, swings, a spray shower and other amenities to the park’s playground at 44th Street and Sixth Avenue.


  1. Elizabeth and her husband with no last name’s “belief,” is hardly an actual fact. This privileged myopic view of the hundreds of reasons why construction projects can be delayed, wreaks of entitlement. If you want to see what an undeserved neighborhood is, take a look at the far reaches of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. You are being given an award winning playground which is ALREADY surrounding by a green park and Rec center, with a pool.
    To suggest that the long time community members aren’t used to getting or fighting for what they want is also an offensive bit of savior mentality.

    The parks department is not against you, it is a beauracratic system, full of setbacks like most others. It is also full of individuals working hard to bring you this park, not some ambiguous figure. Keep that in mind. Be more grateful and aware. Victor was “promised,” a playground, which he will get. Learn some patience and get a clue about the process of city agencies, your child will benefit from that as well.

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