Elected officials in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community broke into locked playgrounds on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16, claiming double standards from Mayor Bill de Blasio as large protests continued across the city.
New York State Assembly Member Joe Lentol on Monday called on De Blasio to open Middleton Playground in Williamsburg, and later opened it himself with the help of others. Local officials closed the playground again soon after.
Responding to the incident in a press conference the following day, Mayor de Blasio said, “We are not going to allow people to take the law into their own hands.” Playgrounds are scheduled to stay closed until Phase 2 of reopening, which would begin on June 22 at the earliest, De Blasio said. “There’s a reason for these rules. They help us move forward,” he added.
However, as De Blasio was speaking, other elected officials were breaking open another Brooklyn playground. This footage, streamed live from Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood, shows New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger cutting through a chain locking the gate to a playground. The same officials had helped open another playground in neighboring Midwood earlier the same morning.
Their efforts were backed and lauded by New York State Senator Simcha Felder, who on Sunday had tweeted, “We’ve asked nicely and waited patiently. We’ve made every logical argument. The people have spoken and they’re running out of patience. If @nycmayor won’t open ALL our playgrounds @SEichenstein @KalmanYeger and I will cut the locks open ourselves.” Credit: Jacob Kornbluh/Jewish Insider via Storyful