What is up with Northeast Philadelphia’s Playgrounds?

Northeast Philadelphia Playgrounds Are Just Simply Gross—What’s going on People???…. Is it the Younger Generations with No Respect or The People Moving into The Area?


This picture is of a painting on the wall at Dorsey Playground (3/15/2011), a park I grew up at as a young girl up until I was a teen and I now take my toddler to play there.


This picture is of a painting on the wall at Dorsey Playground (3/15/2011), a park I grew up at as a young girl up until I was a teen and I now take my toddler to play there.

I take my toddler to the playground very often, I’d say during warmer weather 3-5 times a week; cooler weather 1-3 times a week… even if it’s just for a quick stop to slide down the slide once or even swing for a minute. Living in Northeast Philadelphia, there are many playgrounds to choose from since they are only a couple minutes apart. There is one specific park I take my toddler to called Princeton Park which is probably my toddlers favorite around our way. Typically when we go there is a lot of trash and graffiti all over which doesn’t interfere with my toddler playing there; however, the one specific time I showed up, I automatically had to leave because there was way too many beer cans, soda cans, chip bags, little drug bags along with empty cigar wrappers with the nicotine filling all over the park. The slides were intentionally made cruddy and a metal pole that was supposed to be in the ground so children can stand on it and spin in circles was completely ripped out of the ground and put directly in front of the slides so no children could go down. (Picture of this pole is located below). This day I had to leave the park with such a sad, disappointed look on my toddler’s face. On any typical day, this playground has many children of all ages come and play especially local neighborhood daycares with younger toddlers. I have showed up at this park on several occasions just to be let down due to the mess the “punks” have left.

“City streets are unsatisfactory playgrounds for children because of the danger, because most good games are against the law, because they are too hot in summer, and because in crowded sections of the city they are apt to be schools of crime. Neither do small back yards nor ornamental grass plots meet the needs of any but the very small children. Older children who would play vigorous games must have places especially set aside for them; and, since play is a fundamental need, playgrounds should be provided for every child as much as schools. This means that they must be distributed over the cities in such a way as to be within walking distance of every boy and girl, as most children can not afford to pay carfare.” Theodore Roosevelt


This is the picture of the missing pole at Princeton Playground, taken on 3/15/2011.


This is a picture of what the pole should look like. This picture was taken 3/15/2011 at Dorsey Playground.

While walking into another playground called Mayfair which is only about 5 minutes away; my toddler decides to climb up excitedly on the play land so he can slide himself down the slide. However, I had to quickly stop him from sliding down since I noticed there was ice cream and some other sort of junk spread all throughout every slide in the park. Now remind you that this playground called Mayfair is also attached to an elementary school. After becoming very frustrated that yet again my son’s playtime at the playground has become a huge disappointment for the both of us; we decided to call it a day and not try with any other parks.… I was already so frustrated by entering two parks and had to turn right back around and exit the park that I could not even begin to imagine what the third park consisted of. It really does break my heart to see such disrespect in what people actually call their neighborhoods, let alone their home. Because I know my home is what surrounds me and where I enter everyday. {Personal Side Note: When I was growing up, I played at a park that was located right around the block from me [Dorsey Park]; it took me less than a minute to walk there. I remember playing there as a youngster and hanging out there as a teenager and I do not remember it ever being so trashy}. I love going to parks; especially ones close by…because there are other parents and children just like me— being a stay-at-home mother which gives us the chance to relate to each other.


This photo was taken at Dorsey Park on 3/15/2011. This was not the only trash located in the park… Not to mention, this type of loitering is actually in other parks I have been to in NE Philly as well.

In Philadelphia, it is typical for children, teenagers and even adults to hang out at the park. They go to play basketball, hang out or whatever it is that they do to meet up and be with their friends. I am even guilty at hanging out at some parks when I was a teenager. However, I definitely was never guilty of damaging any property, especially property that children look forward to come and play with. It seems that these young children, teens and even young adults who hang out at the parks have absolutely no respect for the property. I have been to many parks located near me—and when I say many parks I am referring to probably 10 plus—all of them have some sort of graffiti and trash located in the park if not everywhere in the park. Now when I refer to graffiti I am talking about vulgar language such as the words, “Bitches,” “Pussy,” “Dick,” “Fuck You,” and even name and numbers of people saying, “If you’re looking for a good time or blow job call…,” and etc.… I do not want my toddler seeing such rude and offensive language. To add to graffiti, today my toddler and I went to my hubby’s football game down at the Linden River located also in the Northeast on Linden Ave; a brand new playground that is in the process of being built. As I was checking it out to see such cool things for my toddler to play on, I noticed more graffiti on the slides and poles of the play lands. I am so disguised and repulsed by this whole manner.


This picture is just a prime example of the graffiti that is all over parks in northeast of Philly—at Dorsey Park on 3/15/2011.

“Today’s young children are controlled by the expectations, schedules, whims, and rules of adults. Play is the only time they can take control of their world.” –Sheila G. Flaxman

I wonder if these playgrounds are only going to get worse… I am posting this to hopefully raise some awareness before it is too late and to hopefully help people realize that NE playgrounds are falling apart quickly. I also wonder, is it the younger generations or is it the people in general not being taught or having any respect or is it the people who are newly moving into the neighborhood? Take for example the other day I went to the park and there was a two year old toddler who I helped from almost breaking every bone in his body since his father was not paying attention so the two year old insisted on punching, kicking and slapping me. A few minutes later the father had the boy pull down his pants to take a pee in the middle of the park in front of everyone. To top that off, a few minutes later the dad had his seven year old daughter squat down in the middle of the park to also pee while there are children and parents all around. I know that this is a reason for me to want to leave Philadelphia and not return. Northeast Philadelphia playgrounds are slowly and sadly becoming destroyed and will only continue to get worse unless people start teaching and practicing to respect the playgrounds that our younger generations call their home. The people who are destroying the parks in such a manner need to stop and realize that it is setting a such a bad, negative example for our younger generations. Come on people and let’s start treating the parks as if it were your home!

~Believe in youself and you can create what you want.

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