For NYC kids, this summer will be a bummer.
With the last day of school next Friday, the city has ended outdoor, recreational, and job programs for youths of all ages.
“Hundreds of thousands of NYC kids who have been cooped up for three months may have nothing fun to do,” said education consultant David Rubel. “Kids need outdoor play if they’re going to come back to school in September ready to learn.”
Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s budget cuts and coronavirus restrictions, the popular Summer Youth Employment Program, which gave jobs to nearly 75,000 teens and young adults in 2019, has been been eliminated as of now. Officials are scrambling to find funding.
The dire news comes after students have been stuck at home since mid-March amid the Covid-19 shutdown, with laptops and iPads replacing in-person classes.
The Department of Youth and Community Development has wiped out an array of programs that offered arts, sports, games, and field trips enjoyed by 100,000 young people last summer.
“The city is pulling the plug on programs that support the well-being of children and families just when parents are being called back to work as the city reopens,” said Julie Stein Brockway, co-director of the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park. Its summer day camps and neighborhood centers served 2,000 kids a day and has experience in socially distant methods.
The DYCD says it will come up with “alternatives,” but all online — so kids will remain glued to computer screens.
The city Department of Education will run summer school online and plans to expand a College Bridge program in which CUNY students help high school grads prepare for college.
The Parks and Recreation department has removed basketball hoops and rims from city parks — more than 2,100 — with no plans to replace them, officials told The Post.
Tennis courts and golf courses remain shut.
De Blasio can’t say if or when city pools, beaches, and recreation centers, used by 20 million kids and adults last summer, will open.
In extreme heat, the city will set up spray showers and misters in parks, said City Hall spokeswoman Jane Meyer. In neighborhoods far from parks or beaches, the city will open fire hydrants for the afternoon so residents can cool off.
City-run day care is still limited to kids of essential workers.
The mayor did open playgrounds starting Monday. That decision came days after state Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, state Sen. Simcha Felder and Councilman Kalman Yeger defied Hizzoner by having chains and locks power-sawed off the gates at Kolbert Playground in Midwood.
But strict rules will apply: Masks must be worn on kids over 2 unless it’s medically difficult. “Social distancing ambassadors will hand out masks to those who need them,” Meyer said..
For older kids, Little League and other team sports are not yet permitted.
“If we continue to make progress, as we get into Phase Two (of the reopening). then there’ll be a day when we’re ready to act on team sports activity,’ de Blasio said Friday.
Gov. Cuomo has banned sleepaway camps.
Day camps are allowed, but funding for city-run camps is part of budget discussions between City Hall and the City Council, Meyer said. It’s unknown if any will open by July.
Queens Councilman Robert Holden urged the city to explore measures such as opening schools with air-conditioned gyms where kids can play.
“They’d rather have the kids get in trouble than have somewhere to go. There’s no plan to get these parks up and going quickly,” he said.
Many youth programs won’t be running this summer or starting late because of COVID-19 concerns and budget cuts:
Compiled by David Rubel, www.davidrubelconsultant.com