A group of teens confessed to their parents that they set fire to the PS 29 playground equipment in the wee hours of Mother’s Day, Sunday. The Brooklyn Eagle “broke” the news, and labeled it, in red, on their website, “Breaking News.” I can see the headline in New York Magazine’s weekly city map, where they pick out funny news from around the city, “Stop the Presses: Neighborhood Freaks Over Cobble Hill Playground Fire” or “Teens Wire $50,000 to Make Playground Fire Go Away.”
I know, it’s no laughing matter. The teens involved could get charged with arson. The Fire Marshall told me they are still investigating. And this matter of money: Apparently, a criminal defense attorney in Dumbo, quoted in the Eagle story, was contacted by the teens’ parents, who wired $50,000 into an account to pay for the replacement of the equipment. According to the attorney, the kids said the fire was an accident, and they will work to pay back their parents.
As news around our quiet neighborhood passes like, yes, wildfire, I heard about it on the street. The rumor mill has it that drunken teens were seen that night around the area of the school.
On a more serious note, it’s not been a good lesson or experience for the little kids, preschoolers, 3, 4 and 5 year olds, who use that playground, who certainly are confused over why on earth sinister, huge teenagers would set fire to their play house.
There’s a great essay on it by PS29 parent Ariane Ben Eli, in AOL’s Carroll Gardens Patch.