All Greenwich High playing fields closed?

That’s what a reader, whom I trust and who has always been accurate before, writes me. Fear of pollution. Well hell, I played on those same fields 40 years ago and I’m still here, but that was then, this is now. Of course, we were also allowed to smoke in the Student Center back then (you had to go outside to do dope), so perhaps we were protected from lesser toxins.

UPDATE: What the hell are we doing to ourselves? When I was a kid, my father and even a science teacher at Riverside School both kept big jugs of mercury for us to play and experiment with – we’d roll it out, form it, play with it, experiment with it and learn from its properties, all without harm. Ten years ago or so, some kid at Eastern Middle School dropped a thermometer on the floor, spilled a teeny bit of mercury on the floor and the entire school was evacuated while haz-mat teams came in, sealed off the area and cleaned up a teaspoonful of the material. Mercury hasn’t become more dangerous but rather, our fear of everything has increased. This is just crazy. There’s no guarantee of complete safety in this world – witness Norway – and trying to squeeze out every perceived danger is both ludicrous and limiting. Go for the gusto.

UPDATE: so what now, we rip up the million dollars worth of artificial turf we just laid down (without, apparently, testing the soil we were covering)?  Well at least we could then move the fireworks back there. Maybe pave everything and make Greenwich the basketball center of Fairfield County?


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35 responses to “All Greenwich High playing fields closed?

  1. anony

    smoking section – now that was a decadent place, though not as dodgy as that patio just outside the door to the science wing.

  2. Surgeon General

    Well that explains the test score declines, as well as your own skool experience.

  3. Greenwich Gal

    Seems like a smart decision to me given that they have just discovered layers and layers of toxins – arsenic, PCB’s etc in the soil and that dust is flying around the site big time…

  4. bc

    got a notice from greenwich patch

  5. Cobra

    The BOE and many of the bureaucratic lizards in Town Hall might benefit from inhaling a few clouds of dust from GHS playing fields. Ingest a few mouthfuls. In so doing, the content of their craniums might actually acquire enhanced intelligence. Couldn’t be much lower than at present.

  6. Towny

    Like a previous poster said……better not dig too deep as the site might become a superfund.

  7. Patrick


    While I agree that sometimes we go too far the fact is many of these rules have saved lifes wether it’s lead paint, asbestos, smoking, sunscreen, or others. Life expectancy has gone up significantly and it’s not attributed only to medicine. The fact is we’ve learned and continue to learn about the effects of manmade pollutants.

    Although hazmat suits for a bit of mercury seems excessive.

  8. Georgie in Greenwich

    Ah, no…tell me it isn’t so. Does this mean they will rip out the Artificial Turf fields, too?

  9. toto watch out

    tornado in gwich

  10. Anonymous

    Dude –
    You are 100% correct on this. And that has never happened before. Probably in your entire life!!
    Now as you know, I sired five fine Fillys. I always regretted not having a Colt.
    So as a father, you tend to be over protective of girls. I would never have let them play with mercury. But if you were my son, I would have encouraged it. I would have taught you all sorts of fun stuff, my friend. Did you ever lick a mercury ice cream cone? I think not. I could have taught you that!!
    Did anyone at any of your Boy Scout outings teach you how to wash your hair with gasoline while you sucked down a Marlboro? I bet not!! I would have taught you that!! In fact, I would have encouraged it!!
    Did anyone show you the 10 ways to play with sulphuric acid? I bet not. You would love the sulphuric acid enema trick. It’s a killer and a real blast!!
    So much more we could have done. Camping on Metro North Tracks. Chin ups on high voltage lines. Tree sitting in copper suits during electrical storms!!
    But it’s not too late, my friend. If you are getting all nostalgic for this stuff, let me know, and I can show you some of this magic from yester year!!
    Your Pal,

    • Well I did climb a few high voltage towers and hop a few freight trains in my mid-teens, so maybe we could indeed get together and relive, however briefly, the folly of our youth.

  11. anon

    I was at a resort once when some kid had an “involuntary fecal release” in the olympic sized pool. The resort shut down the pool for 24 hours due to the “chemical imbalance” caused by one piece of fecal matter. Reminds me of that scene in Caddyshack.

  12. Surgeon General

    The High School site, formerly known as ten acre swamp, was a great place to dump dirty materials in the early 70’s, when the Clean Water Act was about to put annoying standards in place.

    In the late 90’s, artificial turf field “movement” gave contractors who had a lot of questionable material to get rid of a good looking layer of “green” to hide stuff under.

    Lift the rug and you will see what got swept under it. The Town has known about bad things leaching out for some time. They have the test results on file.

    It was the care and diligence of the current contractor, covering his own risk, that put the facts on the front page. It didn’t take much digging to discover the truth.

  13. Get Real

    OK,- that explains the abysmal HS scores – Dr. “IB” Freund, come back – all is forgiven. Just kidding – don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

    I honestly would have all those teachers tested – we could use this as a ruse to ‘retire’ those with a higher than normal PCP level and a lower than normal student testing score level – know what I mean?

    We may never have another chance – to protect our HS teachers health.

  14. TraderVic

    Hahaha, Get Real you rock!

  15. CatoRenasci

    Move the kiddies back into the old High School (now Town Hall) and move Town government back to the old Town Hall – if we have to cut the number of employees by 2/3 to fit, well, that’s a lot of $$ saved. Good thing the RTM never renewed the Arts Council lease on the building!

    Oh, and let’s bag MISA until we know what it’s going to cost to clean up the superfund site at the current High School and how much longer the economy is going to be in the tank.

    Just stop spending money we don’t HAVE to spend.

  16. Disaffected Republican

    The postings here are a blast, but on a more serious note, don’t you all think that the BOE owes us a revised estimate of the cost of MISA. the project has barely been started, and we have extra tree costs, contingencies evaporating, PCBs galore — all of which it seems to me could have been addressed before project started. This looks like it will be a $45 million project in making — if we are lucky. Since when is Greenwich lucky with building projects? You can’t trust BOE with anything. The culture breeds secrecy, or should I say, lies as standard practice.

  17. Georgie in Greenwich

    I smell a rat because soil contamination in two separate spots means a) this thing is easily detectable and b) its been there for awhile given the construction of the fields years ago. There needs to be some detective work of the cover-up in this fiasco and some heads should roll.

  18. Cos Cob & Proud

    @Get Real – I agree 100% with your entire post!! Well said!!

  19. Cos Cob & Proud

    @Cato Renasci. – thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking!!

  20. uh-oh

    All athletic fields at Greenwich High School have been closed to all activities, effective immediately.

    Officials said late Friday afternoon that test results from soil borings done earlier this month indicated PCBs were present. How widespread the problem was not immediately known. The fields will be closed for at least two to three weeks, until school officials know how widespread the problem is and how it can be removed.

    The fields are being fenced off, gates locked, signs being posting the quarantine and security guards will be stationed at the 33-acre campus on Hillside Road, to ensure no one gains access.

    The Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation is relocating all previously scheduled activities to alternate fields in town, according to Parks and Recreation Superintendent Joseph Siciliano.

    The discovery of contaminated soil came earlier this month during the construction of the $28 million Music Instructional Space and Auditorium project.

    Greenwich Patch will provide more details as they become available.

  21. ff

    But with all the complaints and schemes, you’ll never, ever vote out the Republicans who have run the school board for 50 years, or had the BOS for 27 of the past 31 years, or the BET for 50 years. Truth is accountability is sorely missing but you’re all perfectly ready to vote Tesei back in, most likely for some dopey “democrats will spend more” nonsense. Like a bunch of mirror-image hippie liberals.Between this and that forced recycling, what will it take for you guys to vote in anyone new, another repub or independent?

  22. MoJoRisin

    Chris, were you a student at GHS in 1967? If so, did you see The Doors? They played in the GHS auditorium on June 23, 1967.

    • No, MoJo – in 1967 I was still at Eastern Junior High and I don’t think I even heard of the Doors concert at the High School. Funny how just a couple of years’ difference cuts off communication, or did in those days.

  23. Cos Cob & Proud

    @ff – good question – what will it take?? May we all live so long as to experience that sea change …….

  24. Georgie in Greenwich

    FF—I hear you and agree with you that we need some “outside the beltway” folks atTown Hall. I sure would love to see someone talk about more efficient, lighter, Town government that allows families to keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars.

    But, please do get your facts straight…the BOS, BET, and BOE all have equal party Dem/Rep representation, (except BOS); not to mention the RTM has no party affiliation.

    So you can’t say its a “party” issue as it is a group of those wanting to keep the status quo and those seeing the need for change/reform.

    I believe the current leadership reflects those that are the beneficiary of all the Town spending. Our leaders either have family or friends who are municipal employees (Town Gov’t is now our LARGEST employer, after all) so those leaders don’t want to reduce $$$ to their favorite friend, family member, or town-subsided non-profit group or school project.

    Having said this, a Dem such as your Blanklely would only change the chairs on the deck since he has been unabashed in his rhetoric that he believes the Town should be spending more, not less.

  25. Greenwich Gal

    Just wait until they figure out what is under the turf! More toxins, I’m sure! Then will we have to tear out all the new turf fields?
    I also find that the whole Greenwich Government needs to be re-adressed. We are working with a 16th century model here – all these committees etc just make real leadership virtually impossible.

  26. Cal

    CF – I entered GHS in ’73, and have no doubt that some pot was being smoked in the Student Center, as well.