Children who are used to having a selection of toys to play with at a Brooklyn playground were heartbroken to discover the items had been removed, following the filming of a campaign commercial for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The toys donated to the Underhill Playground in Prospect Heights were missing a few days after the site was filmed as part of an ad attacking President Donald J. Trump (see video below), and parents are reportedly angry that toys they donated are gone.
“The toys have been here for years” and shortly after the ad airs, “they’re gone? C’mon!” said Wendy Atterberry, a mom who has been a regular visitor to the park for six years. “It makes me want to vote Republican,” she said, according to the New York Post.
Some of the toys were donated after they’d been used, while others were brand new. Parents said the toys helped teach children to share. They were also a nice way to provide the children access to toys which were new to them or ill-suited to their homes due to size.
The commercial, which may be an indication of de Blasio’s political ambitions as it clearly focuses on the president, shows children running through the playground with the donated toys scattered around. Parents felt that if the toys were acceptable for the ad, there was no reason to have removed them from the park.
Some have speculated that Parks Department officials, previously unaware of–or disinterested in–the toys, saw them in the ad and enforced a rule which prohibits unattended personal belongings to be left in city parks.
Parks Department spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson said the agency “understands the desire to bring toys to Underhill Playground, and we appreciate the intention. However, it is against our policy to leave such items behind in our playgrounds.”
Ferguson did not confirm whether the toy removal was connected to the campaign ad, but de Blasio’s spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas said it was “unrelated.”
Parks Department removes beloved toys from Brooklyn playground. Happened after site is used in de Blasio campaign ad https://t.co/4KQWTVjnDx
— Rich Calder (@Rich_Calder) November 1, 2017
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