The Red Hook Fields are back open. What a symbol of the fallacy of New York City.
For twenty years I played softball on these fields. For several years, my daughter’s school had her softball games, track and field meets, and soccer games at the Red Hook, Brooklyn, Park.
In 2014, the EPA and New York City Parks and Recreation investigated potential contamination from the former Columbia Smelting Facility that had been located at Red Hook Park. The company’s operations left lead in area soil that eventually became ball fields 5, 6, 7, and 8, and the joint investigation found elevated lead levels in the soil at the ball fields. As a result, EPA ordered the closure of ball fields 5-8 in Spring 2015.
So all the politicians came to celebrate the opening and the cleanup of the Red Hook Fields on April 20, 2022. Kind of a fitting date. What did they smoke on the way to the fields? Not one word said about all the children exposed to this contamination and what the effects could be. Just back-slapping and the usual praise for cleaning it up. The reality was that all our children were playing on fields where they found that the top six inches of ballfields 5-8 were so highly contaminated that they could not stay open.
And just like the Gowanus Canal, the contamination is not gone, it’s just “sealed” under NEW clean dirt and a turf covering rather than the rubber matting that seals in the contaminates in the waterway. See a trend?
I love their comments. “Removing the footprint of a toxic lead smelting facility from baseball and softball fields not only protects Red Hook residents from being exposed to harmful chemicals seeped in the soil that can lead to lifelong, long-term health issues, but also provides Brooklyn residents with parks and public spaces to enjoy healthy recreational activities.” So stated U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Seriously??
At least Eric Adams says it like it is. “We know parks aren’t luxuries, they are necessities that help New Yorkers stay healthy and build community,” said Mayor Adams. “Thanks to this $130 million investment in the Red Hook Ball Fields, New Yorkers will be able to play ball safely for generations to come. I’m grateful to the EPA for their partnership restoring areas that have needed help for too long and I look forward to working together to ensure every New Yorker, regardless of zip code, has access to a clean and safe park.”
I find myself liking Eric Adams and his straight to the point style. Why were both of our senators there to say really stupid comments. Schumer was no better. “I want to commend the terrific work done to remove toxic pollutants at Red Hook Park Ball Fields and make this critically needed greenspace safe for our kids,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Thanks to the clean-up by EPA and NYC Parks, it’s time to ‘Play Ball’ for kids in Red Hook, all over Brooklyn and beyond!”
Could it be that this is one of the last neighborhoods in Brooklyn that has lots of open space and has long been ignored by the politicians?