‘I don’t know what happened’: de Blasio deflects about enforcement of Brooklyn playground break in
Children play at the Middleton Playground in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City
Mayor de Blasio said he didn’t “know the answer” Wednesday when asked if any enforcement action had been taken against a group of rogue lawmakers who broke into a Brooklyn playground in blatant disregard of city social distancing guidelines.
“I’ve said they shouldn’t have done that. It’s inappropriate,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “I don’t know what has happened so far, but they should be treated like anyone else.”
On Tuesday, three Brooklyn lawmakers took matters into their own hands when they and a group of parents cut open the lock to a Midwood playground that had been closed due to the coronavirus.
The lawmakers — state Sen. Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and City Councilman Kalman Yeger — rationalized the move Tuesday, asking in a joint statement: “Why is our mayor intent on making criminals of mothers and children in need of a safe space to play?”
“If they lock these gates, we will cut them open again tomorrow because we serve the people,” they added. “Who do you serve, Mr. Mayor?”
De Blasio has taken considerable flack over his handling of social distancing guidelines instituted by the city to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
When protests erupted after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, the mayor gave thousands of demonstrators a pass.
NYPD officers have also recently been captured on videotape ignoring throngs of maskless people drinking on city sidewalks and streets.
On Tuesday, the NYPD referred questions about any response to the break-in at Kolbert Playground on Ave. L and E. 17th St. to the Parks Department, which didn’t immediately respond Wednesday. A lock on the gates of Dome Playground in Borough Park was also cut off Tuesday.
De Blasio acknowledged the “legitimate” concerns people have about the possible impact gatherings and protests might have on coronavirus spread in the city, but said that opening playgrounds amounted to a “huge number of people concentrated every single day.”