Parents were dismayed earlier this month when they realized that the bathrooms in Astoria Park’s Charybdis Playground would be closed for a second summer due to plumbing problems.
City workers discovered last spring that sewage from the playground and Astoria pool bathrooms had been seeping into the East River since the 1930s, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
The discovery was made when construction of a new amphitheater began at the park’s neglected diving pool. Designers working on the project found that pipes from the playground and pool concession were not connected to city pipes, Lewandowski said at the monthly Astoria Parks Alliance meeting on Tuesday.
“The pool and playground were built in the 1930s at a time when people were unfortunately not as environmentally conscious as we are now,” a spokesperson for the Parks Department said.
The Parks Department brought in portable toilets to Charybdis Playground last summer and will do the same this summer. The new bathrooms are not expected to be completed until 2019. Bathrooms at the pool were fixed to ensure the pool could operate last summer, the spokesperson said.
Anthony Liberatoscioli, an Astoria resident and parent who frequents the playground with his daughter, started a petition earlier last month to request that the Parks Department quickly reopen the bathrooms.
“Clearly, this is a serious and environmentally horrifying problem,” he wrote on the petition page. “We now all have a greater appreciation for the need to repair the bathrooms.”
Liberatoscioli also added that parents are still requesting an expedited timeline for the repairs and “a much better temporary solution in the form of upgraded bathroom trailers during the remainder of the work.”