Playground Jail in Bed Stuy.. Kids Stuff or Real Fail?

Posted on: March 26, 2010

On Tuesday night after watching Law and Order SVU and being impressed and terrified with Jill Scott’s guest appearance I was getting ready for bed. As I go to say goodnight to one of my friends who had stopped by I heard the commercial for 11 o clock news I usually try to avoid watching the news early in the morning and before bed. During the announcement there was mention of a playground in a NYC Housing project that had the words “Jail” painted on it. This playground is not that far from where I live in Bed Stuy. Having lived in the Bronx all of my life and moved to Brooklyn in September I haven’t thoroughly explored all of what Bed Stuy has to offer. Every borough has its stigmas but after being in The Bronx for over 30 years I think I can hang. I decide I am going to stay up for a few extra minutes to catch the story. I have included a picture below apparently on a part of the play equipment there was a mock jail. Parents and residents of the project were upset they felt it was racist, it made the statement that going to jail is ok and they should start getting ready for it at a young age because that’s all they will do with their lives. Wow! those 4 little letters spoke volumes. Now here are my issues I grew up playing cops and robbers as a kid, Teacher, Doctor, House, Astronaut etc and I am none of those things. I also grew up in the worst section of the South Bronx in the projects and I have never been to jail, arrested, smoke, do drugs, have 7 baby daddies or sit on park benches and gossip about how I have to go back to the welfare office for the 3rd time. I say all this to say is when will we stop holding onto these stereotypes that have held us back for so long? Kids play! They are creative and imaginative and are constantly having that stripped away by adults. It’s not fair. Now I do have an issue with the fact that supposedly they called NYCHA to find out if any other playgrounds had this painted on their equipment and they replied No. So the other half of me says why was this playground the lucky recipient? As a parent you teach your child right from wrong. Why couldn’t this be embraced and been a teachable moment. if you do something bad you go to jail. When you grow up you can be a Police Officer, or Lawyer or Judge and lock the bad people away? Why was our immediate reaction that it was a slap in the face? Why are we not putting this attention and media spotlight on the living conditions of the projects? Such as Pee in the elevators? Lights that don’t work in the stairways? Elderly and sickly people who have to walk up as many as 15 flights of stairs or more at times because the elevators don’t work? Or their caregivers can’t get to them?The people who have lost their lives as a result of faulty elevators? Or the fact that you have people living in the Projects illegally? Living in the same place where they sell drugs? Gang activity and random shootings? Why are these things not important? What about the legitimate bad people who should be locked up but are killing and hurting our children everyday in their own community? Can someone please tell me? I played on Monkey Bars as a kid I didn’t go around thinking I was a monkey. As parents it is our responsibility to educate our children and give them the tools to become good people.




6 Responses to "Playground Jail in Bed Stuy.. Kids Stuff or Real Fail?"

Good post and certainly a question that someone needs to answer. I have never seen anything like that before.

Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes it is a good question. From what I have been reading they have since sent someone to paint over it.

Hey DivaMoms. This is an excellent post. Really. I think you are pointing out a lot of interesting questions here. Well said.

Hi Johno! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yea! I am always full of questions..I just don;t understand when people fight an unnecessary fight?


Great post; that sign on my childs playground would be unacceptable to me. Along with the urine filled halls and equipment that does not work. You can’t yell when people are doing you wrong while you continue to do yourself wrong.

Exactly my point! I was just baffled when I read this story. The living conditions of these buildings are horrible and unsafe. Noone talks about that or the fact that a lot of the known drug dealers live or have relatives that live in these Public Housing Buildings and are selling this poison to the kids and right in front of their faces. The reasons these things are allowed to happen are beyond me. Maybe Fear?, Apathy? Ignorance? I have no idea!

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