From the Times Ledger:
Tensions between neighbors, day laborers and a mobile soup kitchen appear to be on the wane at Woodside’s Hart Playground, where the city has begun taking measures to gently discourage adults from using the playground area while leaving them use of the on-site restrooms.
The issue reached Community Board 2 in October 2009, when Chairman Joseph Conley told board members that the day laborers, who gather at the playground because it is next to the on-ramp to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, were using the restrooms to do their laundry and were in the playground area where adults are not allowed without children.
“We’re expecting there should be some improvement on that soon,” said Conley at a meeting Feb. 4.
The city Parks Department has agreed to close one of the gates at the playground, which also abuts a busy subway stop, and to put up new signs.
“At the request of the local precinct, some of the civic groups and the community, we all agreed we will close this gate,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, referring to the entrance by the subway station. “All the public has to come in on one location. ... It gives [better] control of playground.”
The new signs list the same parks regulations as before in Spanish and Chinese as well as English, Lewandowski said.
Other new signs can be found inside the men’s restroom, telling patrons the facilities are for public use and adults cannot sit or loiter inside.
“We’re trying to be as considerate as possible and let the men outside, if they’re unfortunate enough to not have found work yet, still use the bathroom,” Lewandowski said.