Angry Moms Rage Against 'Fitness Freaks' Using Playgrounds as Gyms


Fed up moms in New York City have had enough of fitness freaks using kids’ playgrounds as makeshift gyms now that workout facilities are operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19.

They’ve labeled the sweaty musclemen — and women — “gross” and “selfish” for increasingly monopolizing equipment designed for toddlers.

According to parents, some don’t wear masks and could pose a health hazard during the pandemic.

“It’s unfair on the children, ”said mom of one Ashley Ann Capone, of Astoria Heights, Queens, who regularly visits her neighborhood playground, Sean’s Place, on 38th Street. “They can feel intimidated by them and can’t play properly because of their presence.”

While it’s mostly individuals exercising on their own, a growing number of personal trainers are bringing their clients within the playgrounds.

“My friend recently spotted a trainer with half-a-dozen clients in tow,” added Capone, 35. “They took up half of the available space with little regard for anyone else.

“They use the monkey bars a lot, which poses the danger for little kiddos being kicked in the face.”

The makeup artist and beauty activist is particularly concerned because her 2-year-old daughter, Bridget, is autistic. She loves using playgrounds like Sean’s Place for sensory input and socializing with other tots.

“Being outside in a safe environment is important for all children, but especially those with special needs,” said Capone.

Michelle Slonim Rosenfeld, 39, another Astoria mom, cited rules imposed by New York City Parks that only permit adults in playgrounds who are accompanied by a child under the age of 12.

“Perhaps they should start putting up signs,” suggested the author and comedienne, drolly adding: “Playgrounds are already filled with tears and dirty diapers. We don’t need to add sweaty armpits.”

The issue was acknowledged by Anessa Hodgson, press officer for NYC Parks, who said city playgrounds and parks “have seen an increase in traffic for exercise” given the closures of indoor gyms over the past seven months.

“For many New Yorkers during the public health crisis, they have become their gym, their yoga studio and a space for active and passive recreation,” she added. “While it may appear that more adults are using our playgrounds for exercise, this has long been a trend and we ask that they are courteous and considerate to others.”

Photo: Getty Images