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Can’t Play Ball at East River Park? Change to Permit System on the Way

East River Park, East Village, New York City 1Vivienne Gucwa East River Park

During football season, Julian Swearengin’s Downtown Giants have three practices each week at three different parks: Chelsea Waterside Park, the Battery Park ball fields and Pier 40. Games take place at East River Park on Saturdays. Confused parents frequently end up at the wrong location and players complain about the hectic schedule. Just to add insult to injury, Mr. Swearengin sees a solution to the problem most nights from his apartment with a view of East River Park.

“There are many nights when soccer and football fields are empty. On the same night, my kids are wedged into a corner on Pier 40,” said Mr. Swearengin, the founder of the team for kids up to 15 as well as a former coach. “There’s certainly an overall frustration that there’s no consistency with the permits.”

But soon, the system that maddens Mr. Swearengin and many others will likely be reformed. For the first time since 1999, the Parks Department has proposed changes to its permit system, raising hopes that the vise-like grip many leagues have over coveted ball fields may be loosened.

If the laws are approved, youth leagues applying for new permits will be given priority over all other applicants. The Parks Department will also have the right to reduce the hours of field time for adult leagues that dominate a particular park.

The proposals are in part a response to complaints from an assortment of league administrators at meetings around the city. In Community Board 3, around 20 league operators have bemoaned a permit system that they described as obscure and ripe for abuse. Read more…

On 2nd St., A Dispute Over a Garden

Teri Hagan, Peach Tree community garden 3Chelsia Rose Marcius Teri Hagen says that she is being unfairly denied access to the Peach Tree Community Garden on East Second Street. Those who manage the memberships at the garden deny any wrongdoing.

At the entrance of the Peach Tree Community Garden on Second Street between Avenues B and C stands a small, decorative sign bearing a one-word message: “Welcome” — seven letters that most take as a friendly invitation to enter.

But some residents say they’ve been locked out of this urban green space for at least nine months, and after voicing multiple complaints to Green Thumb, Community Board 3 and City Council District 2, one says she’s fed up with feeling overlooked.

“We have a right to be here, this is a community and everyone has to have a say,” said Teri Hagan, 75, who lives on East Second Street just across the street from the garden.
Read more…