Figueroa-Levin: Softball players should keep their junk out of view

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Holding Image (Credit: amNY)

Every spring and summer, Inwood Hill Park, at the tippy top of Manhattan, is taken over by adult softball leagues. Think Little League, with the corporate-sponsored team names and uniforms, but instead of kids it's grown men who don't seem to work during regular business hours. Many teams come from other neighborhoods just to use the park.

I don't mind that adult softball leagues use the park -- I enjoy it, actually. Sometimes I'll even stop my walk to sit and watch a game. They sell beer there too. It's obviously illegal, and I wish drunk people weren't in the park in the middle of the day, but nobody has ever stopped them.

But what I hate about these softball leagues is the public urination. Many times, instead of going to the restrooms a few yards away, ball players will pee on a tree near the field. I get it, when you work up a sweat playing ball, and you got to go . . . you got to go. But my kid doesn't need to see you exposing yourself to take a leak next to the playground. Yes. Grown men are whipping it out near playing children.

Many of these ball players also leave their trash everywhere. Beer cans, paper and busted folding chairs. And they change their clothes out in public, too. Because everyone trying to enjoy the park deserves another opportunity to look at your junk right?

This isn't anything new. People have been calling the 34th Precinct, the parks department and local politicians to complain for years, but nothing has ever been done. These leagues pay the parks department to use the park, but I'm reasonably certain said permits don't allow for peeing on trees. Their permits should be revoked. Many neighborhood residents have spoken directly to the players, only to meet with anger and threats of violence. Seriously. Grown men who play softball have fits of rage over the ability to display their crown jewels in public.

A couple of years ago, police arrested a group of men at another playground in the same park for playing chess. It's illegal for adults without kids to be in a playground -- something I agree with -- and the chess tables were technically within the playground fence border. So they got arrested. Instead of doing a token police swarm of some old guys playing chess, NYPD, how about enforcing the no drinking alcohol, littering and whipping it out rules?

Rachel Figueroa-Levin tweets as @Jewyorican, @EveryGentrifier and @ElBloombito.


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