Park signs forbid lone adult visitors

By Dustin Brown

Although the new set of signs installed at the Juniper Valley Park playground in Middle Village may look like a comic inversion, community leaders had nothing but the most serious of intentions when they requested the postings.

“No adults admitted without the company of a child,” read the signs. They were installed in late July on railings near the swings in the playground parallel to 78th Street.

Civic leaders described the signs as an added measure to protect children from adult predators who might take advantage of children in the playground.

“It’s just a safeguard, just to keep these guys out of there so they’re not hanging around,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, the group that requested the signs.

Playing on the standard rule requiring that children be accompanied by an adult, the signs provide an ironic statement of a serious message that will give parents the power to notify authorities if they notice an unattended adult in the playground.

“The signs help to create a community of places. That’s why they are sort of lighthearted,” said city Parks Department spokeswoman Jane Rudolph. “In general, we believe our playgrounds are for children and children should be accompanied by adults. But they’re really not places for adults to hang out.”

Rudolph said the signs will allow park patrol officers to ask adults without children to leave a playground area, which could lead to the issuance of a summons and escalate to further responses if such individuals do not cooperate.

Although such signs exist at parks across the city, Rudolph said they are only installed upon community request because the Parks Department makes an effort not to clutter space with excess signage.

“We like to have very few signs that are very succinct, telling the rules and regulations,” she said.

The signs are produced in advance by the Parks Department sign shop and stored on Randalls Island until requests come in for their installation.

Holden said he intends to bring the signs to the attention of Community Board 5, where he serves as vice chairman, so the board can request their installation at other parks in Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth.

“We would work with them to help accommodate them in any way that they would deem appropriate,” Rudolph said.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.