Turf Battle

Friday, August 27, 2010

Patrick Arden, an investigative reporter for City Limits Magazine, reports on the city's use of artificial turf and if it's working as planned to save money.

Do you use any of the 204 artificial turf fields in NYC? What about these fields makes them better or worse than natural grass fields?


Patrick Arden

Comments [17]

brooklyn james

The biggest scandal is how the city ignored all the problems with artificial turf -- it kept putting more down, and after it had to close one turf field because of high lead, it ginned the numbers to keep the rest open. Patrick Arden's story shows there's much more hazardous turf out there; he even names the park fields. Why isn't anyone talking about that?

Sep. 04 2010 11:00 AM
Bill Crain from Manhattan

Pat Arden has done a great piece of investigative journalism.
Except where the synthetic turf fields replace asphalt, they destroy a portion of nature--natural soil and grass--in our care. Although grass fields are hardly models of biological diversity, they help support birds, insects, and other life forms. Children, especially, need more contact with the little nature that remains in our city.
The Parks Dept. says grass fields require pesticides and emit pollution from mowing. But intstead of destroying the soil and grass, Parks should explore healthy caretaking alternatives.
Let's do all we can, at every turn, to protect nature in our neighborhoods.

Aug. 29 2010 03:57 PM
Jennifer from Park Slope

Very toxic, expensive, ineffective and corrupt process is turf made installed and exposing our youth to. Patrick Arden, an amazing reporter, just what we need.

Aug. 28 2010 11:31 PM
guive mirfendreski

For primary-source info about down side of artificial turf, incluidng re health of players, go to .

Aug. 28 2010 08:56 PM
keith from NYC

I run an ultimate "frisbee" league in NYC. I administer various permits and play throughout the five boroughs in many City Parks, on artificial turf and on natural grass. I have seen beautiful grass fields reduced to dirt in a single season. I have abandoned the dust fields due to the extremely unhealthy dust conditions, that particularly impact athletes running and breathing deeply, not to mention the rocks glass, holes, pipes, hypodermics, etc. There are many dangerous hazards and injuries as a result. On the other hand artificial turf provides an excellent exceptionally smooth, safe and stable surface for high level competitive sports. It is usable year round in all conditions, when many grass fields are not usable in rain (due to Parks regulations to preserve them) or in the winter when they are closed, or covered with snow and mud. In terms of athletics, anyone who has played on artificial turf will acknowledge that it is faster and brings competitive sports to higher level. I LOVE playing lush soft grass, but in the context of a heavily populated city, it is simply not practical.

Aug. 27 2010 01:01 PM
Karen from Manhattan

I play with the Dragonmoms, mostly on the Pier 40 roof at night (we're mostly U40). Both types of fields have advantages and disadvantages. There are bubbles in the middle of the field on the roof of Pier 40. I've had terrible coughing fits after playing on turf in Stuytown (they need to vacuum I guess--dried leaves get shaken up with the soccer play). I've had more injuries on hard packed grass (or should I say mud) fields. Grass fields seem to be much harder and it's tough on the feet, ankles, and knees. So maintenance is needed on both.

Aug. 27 2010 11:05 AM
JJ from nyc

Actually according to Websters turf is "any surface."

Aug. 27 2010 10:57 AM
Larry from Dumont, NJ

My local high school put in one of these artificial track & field installations. While the cushion on my knees was appreciated, the smell was nauseating. Imagine working out (heavy deep breathing) with the strong smell like a new plastic basketball. How could this be healthy?

Aug. 27 2010 10:57 AM
Unheard from NYC

How does the turf handle rain water compared to grass fields? Wouldn't grass fields be better for retaining that water? Doesn't the turf add to run off?

Aug. 27 2010 10:56 AM
Ricardo from brooklyn, ny

I play soccer in the parks, I prefer playing in grass fields much better, the last time I played in turf I jumped to tackle the ball from an attacker (not his leg) and without thick long socks i peeled my back leg to the point I got an infection days later. turf is like sandpaper.

Aug. 27 2010 10:56 AM
Hal from nyc

Some of the more outrageously colored fields are really cool

Aug. 27 2010 10:56 AM
Jimmy from nj

If you spray your cleats with Pam, that won'thappen

Aug. 27 2010 10:55 AM

The word "turf" means grass! That makes this discussion sound completely ridiculous.

Grab a dictionary once in a while.

Aug. 27 2010 10:54 AM
Tony Jannetti from sara roosevelt park

Some of these artificial sites get used from 7am until 10pm--continuously. If the same field were planted it would have no grass at all.

Aug. 27 2010 10:54 AM
janet V from Brooklyn

I coach a high school softball team at van vorhees park in Brooklyn. I love it because it is smoother than Red Hook, but if you don't field it well it rolls very, very far. Considering the fields in Red hook have toxic problems and have to be dug up, I prefer the experience at turf fields.
Cadman Plaza is terrific as well. However the parkies don't let us practice there because they don't allow bats at that park!

Aug. 27 2010 10:53 AM
Alison from Brooklyn

This summer, my friends and I played a lot of soccer on both artificial turf and grass. Over the course of the summer, two of my friends sprained their ankles, both times on the turf field, and we suspected that turf is less forgiving and thus more dangerous. Have there been any studies on this?

Aug. 27 2010 10:52 AM
Bill from LIC

There is a fantastic pink astro turf field in LIC in Queens. At night they turn on these purple lights which is kind of like a blacklight effect, but during the day it's stunning in pink. The ball takes a quick hop on these surfaces, and many infielders don't delight in that.

Aug. 27 2010 10:52 AM

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