Rock Climbing at DeSalvio Playground Hits Bureaucratic Wall

Posted on: January 7th, 2022 at 5:02 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

The newly renovated DeSalvio Playground at Spring and Mulberry Streets in LIttle Italy has been extremely popular since it officially returned in 2019. But a full reopening never happened.

The adjacent luxury development at 75 Kenmare, still under construction when DeSalvio reopened, blocked much of the public space. And even after construction completed two years ago, a fraction of the kids playground has since remained off limits and boarded with plywood. Including the rock climbing wall the abuts the new building.

Ever more irksome given the sharp rebound of park use during pandemic times.

Longtime residents, many of whom are parents, have been inquiring about the rock wall for quite some time, and finally received an answer this week. Chief of Staff for the Department of Parks, Steve Simon, appeared before the Community Board 2 Parks and Rec subcommittee with an update. He explained that the temporary plywood structure blocking access to the climbing wall was set up to prevent kids from climbing up onto the ledge of the window that overlooks the playground.

Simon went on to say that Parks was simply waiting for the developer to complete their own install of an awning barrier that would prevent higher access.

Photo: Eddie Panta

When CB2 committee members asked why it would possibly take this long, Simon appeared at a loss.  “It’s a shame, it’s just nuts.”  And said that his office would reach out to the developer of 74 Kenmare again.

When we contacted the job site manager back in 2019, he said that the developer was not seeking a permanent closure of the park and any barrier in the public space would only be temporary during construction.

In the meantime, kids have taken to scrawling words and pictures across the plywood surface. Perhaps some chalkboard paint is in order here to get the message across to the luxury developers still encroaching on the public space.


Recent Stories

Displaced Chinatown Business Returns Months After Devastating Fire

Four months after a deadly fire knocked out 78 Mulberry Street, one of its businesses returned to the scene. Ewa Trading Company reopened in its former Chinatown home earlier this week. The store had spent some of the interim displacement period selling from a shuttered Vietnamese restaurant a few paces north. The two-alarm fire broke […]

EDC Sues Essex Restaurant for Back Rent over Former Essex Market Lease

Three years removed from its relocation across Rivington Street, the city filed suit against the Essex restaurant for alleged unpaid rent. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sued Essex for nearly $60,000 in unpaid back rent on the former Essex Market building it previously occupied, according to the lawsuit filed Monday. The city entity claims that […]

Exile on Orchard Street: Tenement Museum Recreates Exhibits During Renovations

The Tenement Museum is amidst a preservation project at 97 Orchard Street, but will continue its programming with replicas not too far away. The 1863-era tenement this past Sunday embarked on “vital” restoration work to preserve its walls, floors, roof, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system that will provide improved climate […]

Former Home of Stanton Social on the LES Hits Market for $5.9M

Stanton Social has been in the grave for nearly four years. Now, its former home is back on the market. The two-story building – located at 99 Stanton Street in Hell Square – carries an asking price of $5.9 million. B6 Real Estate Advisors is listed as the exclusive brokerage for the property, which has […]

DOT to Pave Pock-Marked Pell Street; Sheds Removed

Pell Street is finally on deck for a resurfacing, forcing numerous Chinatown businesses to dismantle their street shed annexes. Those who operate outdoor dining sheds along Pell Street received notice this week from the Department of Transportation to dismantle structure ahead of scheduled street repaving. This small neighborhood street – which once terminated at Division – […]