Battery Park city Tire Swing Park

Op Ed: Tire Swing Saga: Media Outlets Call BPC Residents “Wimps”

Battery Park city Tire Swing Park
The "Tire Swing Saga" has media outlets calling residents "wimps."

For the past few months, the arrival of the new West Thames playground on Memorial Day weekend has been warmly received. An elaborate ribbon cutting was witnessed by dozens of parents and their children to open the long awaited new tire swing park. On that very same day, a couple of children swinging on the now vilified tire swing “conked” their heads, a term used by Curbed to describe the incident. Curbed went on to mock parents who continue to bring their children to the park by describing them as leading their “children to slaughter.”

As a former kid who enjoyed the original tire swing park, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the old wooden structure and a little bit of sadness that the park is now gone. There are times where I’ve believed that  maybe all of this hullabaloo is a bit of karma from the tire swing gods in the sky — or is it?

Curbed writer Joey reported the story the way it should have been covered — with a bit of jest and humor. While other local news outlets have been reporting this situation with disconcerting seriousness, the candor and ribbing from Curbed is appreciated. Joey proceeds to call Battery Park City residents “wimps” for complaining about a tire swing that has been installed in the same manner in parks — including a dozen in Central Park — all across the city. To placate the controversy, new signs are being installed to warn parents with height-blessed children (of over 4 feet) to avoid using the tire swing.

Yet, there is another thread running through the “Tire Swing Saga.”

When the original tire swing park was slated for demolition (to make way for the extension of the pedestrian path last year), a coalition in support of keeping the original park surfaced. The “Coalition to Save Tire Swing Park” was lead by Matthew Fenton. Ironically, the same man whose own child was one of the very first to be injured by the new tire swing — on the exact day the park opened to the public.

I’m seriously not making this up. Here is an article in 2009 from the Village Voice quoting Matthew Fenton — a staunch and vocal opponent to the new park — in support of saving the original tire swing.

Nearly a year later, here is another article quoting Matthew Fenton regarding the injury of his child, calling for the removal of the tire swing.

(Matthew Fenton is a writer for the local paper, The Broadsheet — which has been following the tribulations of the on-going tire swing saga very closely. Mr. Fenton didn’t attribute himself as “one of those parents” within the article, but the connection was indicated by a small editors note at the end of the article).

In a recent hearing, Jeff Galloway, CB1 member and BPC resident asked, “Is there something peculiar about Battery Park City where we’re not prepared to take a risk everyone else is willing to take? Kids will get hurt in this playground. Kids get injured all the time. Is this risk greater than other risks?”

Truer words were never said, Jeff. Can we now put the Tire Swing Saga to rest and let what happens in the playground stay in the playground?

About Lizbeth

Elizabeth has been a resident of Battery Park City since 1985, where she and her sister were beneficiaries of the neighborhood’s first school bus stop. She loves to travel, but loves even more to come home. The Battery Park Esplanade is her favorite neighborhood fixture, where you’ll often find her soaking up the sun, rollerblading, or simply enjoying the view.

3 thoughts on “Op Ed: Tire Swing Saga: Media Outlets Call BPC Residents “Wimps”

  1. When I was a kid, we swung on a steel barbell weight attached to a steel cable wrapped in barbed wire, hung over a dirt patch filled with shards of glass. But I must admit we never hit our heads on anything but the ground. Those were the days.

    1. I’m honestly waiting for a basketball to hit someones head on the ramp leading onto the Rector Bridge. LOL That’s the area that makes me most nervous these days!

  2. The tire needs to be anchored with a chain at the bottom limiting the circumference of the swing. Iv’e seen this many places. It’s not rocket science.

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