When it comes to artificial turf, parkgoers at Rufus King Park in Jamaica wish the city had kept it real.
At the 89th Ave. and 150th St. park, there's much talk about the new $1.7 million renovation that included artificial turf made of synthetic grass and recycled-tire rubber crumbs on the athletic field - and whether that is the best option.
"It's, like, natural. I'd prefer to play on it," said Tony Aniagba, 17, about natural grass, as he sat on the even, bright green artificial field.
Hydia Cohen, 17, liked real grass because "it's good for the air and trees."
Parents, too, feel that the turf should have been tested before being put into use.
"The testing should be done before they put it down," said Queens dad Kareem Palmer.
Parkgoers not all convinced by the city's safety claims with artificial grass
But Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe said there are drawbacks to both surfaces.
"From what we understand, from what the Health Department has told us, from what the experts have told us, there is no reason to be concerned about this. The greater risk, really, is kids not getting exercise in the fight against childhood obesity," said Benepe.
According to Benepe, natural fields require expensive, constant preservation with seasonal use.
Artificial grass can be used year round, intensively, with less overall expense for maintenance and a greener, attractive look, he said.
"The main event with the synthetic turf fields is allowing children, adults, athletes to get the maximum amount of use of the field," said Benepe.
In the meantime, the synthetic fields will be left as is - but Benepe promised "if we find that there is a public health risk, we'll take the necessary steps after that."
What a great policy!