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Domes Doomed ... Playground Spec too Hot to Handle

The domes, stylish stainless steel sculptural climbing and sliding additions to the toddler play area in Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC, were predictably efficient solar-absorbing units in the summer heat, hot enough to fry the proverbial egg.

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Playworld The Cedar Store
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Whoever thought the stylish stainless steel dome play elements (Urban Design Berlin) were a good idea for the Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC was clearly not a child in the 1950s, when metal slides were ubiquitous on the playground. Kids used to wax those slides to speed them up, but in the direct sunlight they, of course, became hot to the touch and could burn bare skin.

Specifying these domes from the German manufacturer of untraditional play equipment seems an odd choice, unless say the playground was in Seattle or Anchorage.

Warning signs were posted, then the domes covered, then ... they were history.

When the first heat wave hit the East Coast in the early weeks of summer, children in the playground's toddler area were soon yelping, not with glee, but from touching hot domes with their soft, tender fingers or bare legs.

A sign on the fence near the domes noted: ''Please exercise caution. Steel dome play structures can be hot. Once the tree canopy fills in we expect the shade provided to alleviate this condition.''

At first the domes were covered, but after parents raised a rumpus, NYC Parks & Rec knew nobody was going to wait for the trees to grow, so out with the $84,000 domes, and in their place a red house and fairy castle.

The domes, it's asserted, met national and international play structure safety standards. Toasters meet safety standards, too, but you'll probably want to keep your fingers out of them when the unit is hot. Also, don't iron you pants while wearing them!

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November 19, 2019, 11:09 pm PDT

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