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NYC Parks Department Pulls Athletic Field Permits

Paul Steinbach

The New York City Parks Department on Wednesday revoked field permits from youth sports league officials until further notice, canceling sporting events on city fields this weekend and beyond.

As reported by the Staten Island Advance, the measure is in accordance with New York mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement of the temporary closing of the city’s public schools as the city’s COVID-19 infection rate reached the critical 3 percent threshold.

NYC Parks sent emails to its permit holders Wednesday evening, announcing the bad news:

Dear Athletic Field Permit Holder,

As you may have already heard, the Mayor has ordered all schools to close effective Thursday, November 19 based on the city exceeding the threshold of 3% 7-day average of positive COVID-19 tests. NYC Parks is cancelling all athletic permits until further notice as outlined in the permit affirmation that stated once that threshold has been reached, permits would be canceled.

At this time, we are pausing on processing any further permit applications for our winter season, which starts on December 1st. If you have already received a permit for the winter season, please note it is invalid until this restriction is lifted. Our Parks Enforcement Patrol will be doing spot checks to ensure compliance. As always, we appreciate your cooperation and patience. We will contact you when we have updates.

Stay safe,

NYC Parks

Youth sports officials expressed frustration and resignation following the announcement. Some had seen the writing on the wall once fields were limited to 25 athletes and parents earlier this week. 

“We regret to inform you that our season has come to an abrupt halt,” an email to members of the Staten Island Youth Soccer League stated. “With the closing of the NYC public schools, our field permits have been revoked. We were hoping to get the last weekend in but this in not the case.”

The SIYSL plays at Staten Island's Miller Field and Owl Hollow. “It drives me nuts, because the minute we are not at Owl Hollow, there will be hundreds of people there destroying the fields again,” SIYSL board member Rich Nellis told the Advance.

“Having the children on the fields again made all of us at 9-11 Flag Football happier than ever," said league president Mike Fidanza. "Seeing the smiles on their faces and the determination in their eyes really lit up our hearts and made us feel hopeful for our future. Now with the COVID situation as it is, we are disheartened. We, of course, understand and know it is in the best interest of our community. We are looking forward to the day we can welcome the kids and families back to 9-11 Flag Football.”

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