NEW YORK MILLS — Have you ever seen a basketball court that keeps its rims up for just three months a year?
You do if you live in New York Mills.
Pulaski Park, located in the village on Main Street, has a pair of basketball courts that captivated me to move to the area. Too bad the courts are not functional for very long.
Apparently, the rims — and supposedly the swing sets — go up and down faster than an Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited stock. Rims remain up as long as the summer parks program is in progress, which runs from June to August.
That is, unless the young basketball players are running amuck, then the rims will go down even sooner. That’s according to New York Mills Mayor John Bialek, whom I called in the fall of 2017 to ask why the rims were detached, only to find out that the kids who frequent the park are a seemingly a nuisance.
I couldn’t believe it. No, not my small and quiet village that is about one quarter the size of a golf course and will run you $2.75 for a large green garbage bag.
Removing rims is simply unusual and unwarranted, no matter the reason. Instead of complaining about kids playing “Fortnite” for hours, maybe build some energy behind keeping the swings and rims from being taken down annually. The 85-year-old Pulaski Park is far from the dirtiest, rowdiest park in the state. I’m sure of it.
It sounds like the village doesn’t agree with me. Bialek claims that the kids cause quite a commotion every year. He receives constant complaints, and specifically mentioned an incident where people threw balls at vehicles driving by in the street. He said the rims would remain down until the summer.
Summer came, and a co-worker told me the rims were finally up Monday, June 25. The morning of Monday, July 30, however, all four rims were gone — premature in comparison to last year, and nearly every other outdoor court in America.
Three rims returned that very night, but it was too late — I was already in column mode.
Someone told me that a rim was broken in late July, and all of the rims were taken down a few days prior to my discovery. The hoops have been “messed with so much,” they said, recalling nets going missing and rims literally stolen. They added that the courts were without rims for an entire summer in the past. Sheesh.
A few more people graciously gave me more information about the park’s past, but wished to not be attributed. One person said the removal of the rims is race related. Another mentioned the amount of litter left behind every night and didn’t feel remorse. Someone agreed that removing rims is odd, but they were more concerned with why the swings go up so late.
One person mentioned an instance where Bialek personally visited the courts to speak to the kids, and the young people were very mouthy with him.
I reached out to Bialek this week. My phone call was never returned.
I talked to some young people at the courts earlier this week. They were sorely upset about the village’s yearly decision to take the rims down, as well as waiting until late June or early July for the rims to come back. They admitted to police kicking them off the courts after hours (park hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.), but they were unaware of any other mischief.
Pulaski Park is concise but convenient. There is a pair of (seasonal) swing sets and some slides, and the courts run adjacent to Main Street. One court has a beautiful, colorful map of the United States of America drawn across center court, along with tic-tac-toe boards and hopscotch templates.
Not to mention the World War II memorial on the other side of White Street, adding a historic touch to the area.
Pietryka Park is also located in the village, on Henderson Street, but last I checked there is one functionable hoop — on the other end of the court are two poles that used to hold up a backboard.
One day, it would be nice to come home without wondering about the rims.
Contact reporter Marquel Slaughter at 315-792-4963 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Slaughter).