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 Â 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,Â 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?