Orthodox Jews defy De Blasio order, cut locks on closed NYC park to let children play

WashingtonExaminer reports a group of Orthodox Jews cut the locks on a New York City park after it had been welded shut earlier in the day, footage shows.

People can be seen huddled by the doors of a park in Brooklyn and cheering once a lock was broken, opening it up to small children nearby, in videos shared on social media Monday.

https://twitter.com/HikindDov/status/1272656161536434177

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation was recorded welding the gates to Middleton Playground shut in Williamsburg amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a video posted Monday to Williamsburg News’s Twitter account. The welding was later removed and replaced with standard chains, and frustrated residents gathered to protest the playground closures, during which some participants broke the chains on both sides of the park.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol expressed disapproval of closing the park, tweeting that its “unacceptable” to not allow kids to play in the park and demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio open up the city’s parks and ease the restrictions prompted by COVID-19. Members of the city’s Jewish community were also singled out by de Blasio in April for violating social distancing guidelines during the health crisis.

Brooklyn saw thousands of protesters march outside the Brooklyn Museum over the weekend, demanding justice for black transgender people who have been murdered. De Blasio himself has also joined some protests that followed the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.