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Dirty and dangerous: PIX11 checks on city parks, bathrooms with NYC comptroller

After several investigations — some dating back to last year — highlighting problems across the city, New York city Comptroller Scott Stringer says hazardous city playground conditions and dirty park bathrooms are a cause for concern.

Stringer asked PIX11 to visit the Jacob Schiff Park with him Wednesday.

“So many of our playgrounds, our bathrooms, the places our children go are in absolute disrepair,” said Stringer.

He picked Jacob Schiff playground for a reason. In one of his audits, back in April, Jacob Schiff had the highest number of hazardous conditions of any playground in the city. Three months later, Stringer says there are still problems.

“While they are fixing the playgrounds, they should take a look at the bathrooms. They are disgusting,” said Stringer.

PIX11 also checked the bathrooms at the Jacob Schiff park that were rated unacceptable last month.

We visited both the men’s and women’s bathrooms Wednesday. Toilets and sinks were working, but cleanliness was less than average in both.

According a comptroller's audit just last month, 399 bathrooms out of 1,428 city bathrooms had non hazardous but unacceptable conditions.

Problems include deteriorating walls and floors, damaged changing tables, missing or damaged soap dispensers and out of service toilets, urinals and sinks.

A Parks Department spokesperson told PIX11 the park is cleaned daily and that there is a one fixed post staff at the park daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The spokesperson explained that city workers made some repairs to the playground equipment Wednesday and did some painting and caulking, which is why there was caution tape up in the park. The tape will be removed.

“We take great pride in our parks, and work hard to ensure parkgoers enjoy well maintained green spaces," the spokesperson said. "This administration has invested in the construction and reconstruction of more than 15% of our park comfort stations—27 have been completed, and 76 are active capital projects. Since 2015, we have worked to standardize their design and each facility includes changing tables—in the men’s and women’s restrooms."

Also, Stringer said he conducted two different investigations on city playgrounds and one just on NYCHA. Nearly 800 NYCHA playgrounds were visited in April 2018 in the investigation: 3/4 of playgrounds were unsatisfactory and dangerous.

“We got a commitment from NYCHA they would do their own assessment on the playgrounds and we just learned they never did the inspections,” Stringer said.

A NYCHA spokesperson disagreed.

“NYCHA has inspected all playgrounds at our developments and has been working to make any necessary repairs," the spokesperson said. "We look forward to meeting with the Comptroller to provide an update on the status of our inspection program.”

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