Despite Governor’s Recent Reopening Mandate, Seward Park Courts Remain Padlocked [Updated]

Posted on: May 20th, 2020 at 5:04 am by

During this Covid-19 pandemic, students and community have forfeited sports and other outdoor activities for weeks.  They crave a resumption in activity, yet here on the Lower East Side, are blocked by the collective Seward Park high schools.

The padlocks remain in place on a valuable neighborhood asset – the Seward Park Campus/Community Playground, situated just below Grand Street, and just north of the namesake park itself. Access is at stake. The courts – overseen by the school – have always attracted heavy usage that allows for social distancing.

Some of those uses are again permitted.

Governor Cuomo last week ordered in writing that certain Low-Risk Business and Recreational Activities (including tennis) are reopened statewide, as of May 15. Five days later, the continued lockout and signage at the front gate still stands in contradiction, stating, “Governor’s Directive – Park is Closed.”

The most basic responsibility of the campus and its principal is to show students how to be decent. An end to closing off this open space for students and neighbors could be a good start.

It appears that decisions regarding the school’s playground have previously been made by principal Scott Conti in conjunction with campus custodians.

Yet, Conti disputes as much. When reached for comment, he noted, “We have not heard anything from the NYCDOE regarding opening the courts.”

“The building custodian makes decisions regarding the space, sometimes in collaboration with the five principals in the building. I have never made decisions regarding the opening and closing of Seward Park.”

The five Seward Park high schools (also known as Seward Park Campus) are located in close proximity to the playground, in the iconic building at 350 Grand Street.

Recent Stories

Pandemic Shift: Tile Bar

On March 16, 2020, New York City bars were ordered shut by the governor. While some waited for reopening, many wondered if that would happen. In “Pandemic Shift,” co-creators Andrew Hunter and Aaron Fischer captured the moments and moods of service workers in front of their closed establishments. Mark is leaned up against the Tile […]

Brute Beats Elderly Man, Steals Cane at East Broadway Bodega

A mugger punched an 82-year-old man in the head and stole his cane at a Lower East Side bodega earlier this week. The elderly victim was inside the Big Apple Food Market on Clinton Street, near East Broadway, at around 6:20am this past Wednesday. As the man was buying a cup of coffee, a stranger […]

Fix the Hell Square Chaos: An Open Letter to CB3 and Elected Officials

The following open letter was written by a concerned resident of Hell Square who wishes to remain anonymous. Dear Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council member Margaret Chin, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Borough […]

Report: Chalk Artist Hash Halper Dies After Jumping from Brooklyn Bridge

A street artist known for drawing chalk hearts on the surfaces of downtown has died. The New York Post reports that pop art creative Hash Halper, aged 41, leaped from the Brooklyn Bridge last Friday. He did not survive the fall. The colorful hearts began in 2014, while the self-proclaimed “New York Romantic” worked at […]

Marte City Council Campaign Fights Back Against PAC Smear Ads

As soon as early voting began last weekend, District 1 City Council candidate Christopher Marte found himself in the crosshairs of a series of attack ads launched by Common Sense NYC Inc., a Super PAC whose top three funders are Stephen Ross, Ronald Lauder, and Jack Cayre. While City Council campaign dollars are limited, Super […]