If you’ve only ever ridden a sled in Prospect Park, you’ve never been sledding. One of Brooklyn’s best spots for skidding down snow is the steep hill in Owl’s Head Park, which I repeatedly climbed and rode down on my Flexible Flyer during childhood winters. Lest any other children be able to form precious memories, the city planted trees at the bottom of the slope, creating a “Sonny Bono waiting to happen”. Per the Post:
“I was surprised to see the new trees,” [a local resident] said, recalling a bit of local legend about one teen who was paralyzed decades ago after crashing into a tree on the famed suicide hill. “I never thought they would put new ones in over there. They are in a bad spot.”
How bad? The plastic protective fencing around the juvenile trees have already been crushed by sledders. And because the trees are still young, the branches are at the perfect height to injure tots.
The real reason the trees are probably there? I’m betting on racism.
The president of Friends and Neighbors of Owl’s Head Park, which requested the trees and want even more, told the paper they were necessary to “replace older trees that are dying, and to discourage adults who play soccer on the lawn.” Soccer was also deemed a problem when the Shore Road ball fields at Bay Ridge Parkway were redone; to break up the park’s flow and discourage soccer from happening—and also to give the local Catholic high school private baseball grounds in a public park—the city built a large fence around one of the fields, sullying the landscape’s majesty.
You know who plays soccer in parks? Mexicans. You know who don’t like Mexicans? People from Bay Ridge.
If this is “officially” about protecting grass, need I remind everyone that parks are for using, whether by sledding children, baseballing teenagers or soccerball-kicking adults. I’d rather see people playing in a park than people getting ticketed for stomping on perfectly maintained grass. I’m reminded of the city’s recently suggested draconian-measures for stymieing the goose population of Prospect Park, which would create a place where there would be, as I wrote, “no geese, no one interacting with the wildlife, an invisible lake, and a dog keeping everything (and everyone!?) in order…” Nature is not a museum.
[for a better picture of sledding in Owl's Head, look at this, which I was afraid to get in trouble for downloading and repurposing without permission]