Bedford-Stuy Projects Probably Not Most Apropos Place for Prison-Themed Playground


Here is an instance where one can watch a complete lack of institutionalized tact unfold, if there ever was or is such a thing.

Maybe because it’s not politically correct to assume that housing projects are a hotbed of crime, or maybe because there’s some kind of bureaucratic red tape against doing anything to indicate some kind of resistance against this assumption, or maybe because someone was really, really stupid somewhere down the line, but somehow, a prison-themed jungle gym — replete with bars and the word JAIL, as well as an “over-exaggerated lock” painted on it — made its way into the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn eight years ago. Gross, sure, but here’s the kicker. Via the New York Daily News, this is what actually happened when one resident tried to make it a slightly more bearable experience:

That night, she covered the word “jail” with black spray paint. The New York City Housing Authority sent someone to restore it within weeks. Corbett said she tried the paint trick again last summer, and again NYCHA repainted the jungle gym.

But the story got picked up, and the Daily News cites a blog called Black and Brown News that took up the cause this week — after which, representatives from the NYCHA came and painted over the gym.

The residents want the entire thing replaced.

NYCHA reps won’t return calls to the press.

The housing authority installed a prison-themed playground, for kids, in the middle of the projects, and repeatedly enforced its existence until it was taken public, which took eight years to happen. In the great tradition of kicking an entire group of people not only until they’re down, but until they simply accept it, this is pretty remarkable. Also, awful.