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Citizen complaint of the day: The kid-burning Myrtle the Turtle of Beacon Hill needs to go

City workers taping off hot turtle at Myrtle Street playground

A concerned citizen watched city workers tape off a metal turtle in the middle of the Myrtle Street playground on Beacon Hill today following earlier complaints the thing - installed just last month - is burning kids who made the mistake of actually sitting on it. But all the tape in the world marked "COLD" won't actually cool down the sun-concentrating turtle for good and the resident filed a 311 complaint to request that the city:

Please take it out of the play area.

On Saturday, one resident posted a photo showing his or her five-year-old son pointing his newly burned finger at the sun-collecting object - which the Beacon Hill Garden Club paid to install, with the hopes that, as a club official said, "the beautiful sculpture will be enjoyed by local children for many generations to come." Nancy Schon, who created the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden, sculpted the turtle.

Also on Saturday, another parent brought a digital thermometer to the playground:

133 degrees on the turtle

The metal turtle at the Myrtle St Playground was 133 degrees today. Kids are getting burned. It is dangerous and should not be in a playground. Please remove the turtle from the playground.

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Interesting story. Is Myrtle a new addition to this play area or has she been there for decades?

I've updated the post - Myrtle was installed just last month.

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Is that the same parents group that raised the money to install the sculpture now wants it out. Neighborhood scuttlebutt is that its a pretty dysfunctional organization.

(Update: My understanding appears to have been incorrect; the linked article says that funds for the turtle sculpture were raised not by the parents group but by the Garden Club, which runs an annual garden tour as a fundraiser and which takes care of all kinds of public park space: https://beaconhilltimes.com/2019/05/10/myrtle-the-...)

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Lol parents

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Perhaps this will toughen up the delicate Brahmin skin of the Beacon Hill youth who currently get second degree burns from looking at a jar of mild salsa.

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Just like that metal climbing structure over asphalt toughened up my friend's arm in fifth grade.

Well, resulted in the removal of my friend's arm in fifth grade.

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I'm on top of the .....

Yeah, my classmate who suffered a bone poking through the skin fracture (and kidney damage) falling from one of those pipe metal cube things ... made her really tough to have to repeat a grade.

Hate to tell you but Brahmins are rare now.

... that they mostly migrated away from Beacon Hill well before 1900.

Could some sort of heat-absorbing fabric be placed on it during the summer months?

.

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It needs shade from either a tree (like the ducklings in Public Garden) or a fabric structure.

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Knit that terrapin a sweater, STAT!

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Nobody would have to look at a nude turtle.

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Turn it into a water feature. Problem solved.

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... for restoring my faith in uhub comments.

Better some heat-dissipating or reflective coating. Chrome plate it! Or, yeah, shade.

A tactical turtleneck!

Do they heat up too? I realize they often have jerseys on.

But you have to wonder about the tortoise and the hare in Copley Sq. An equally well sun exposed bronze sculpture that is meant to appeal to childern.

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For kids to play I was made
Here in the sun I was laid
But the more I linger
I could burn your finger
Someone get me some shade

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When the evil toddlers attack
These turtle statues don't cut them slack

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Good post, Kinopio

Won’t get enough thumbs ups though, unfortunately. You and I should be friends since we are both misunderstood.

I immediately thought, "Hot Nuts! Get your Hot Toasted Nuts right Here!"

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They could even just put a temporary one and test the temperature of Myrtle. If it works, then put up a permanent one.

I seem to recall playing on jungle gyms in shadeless East Boston playgrounds in the 1960s that were made out of metal. And black metal at that. In fact they seemed to be made out of old pipes. I survived. If they were too hot we just stayed off them.

On the other hand, specifically installing a large bronze item that is appealing to small children in a sunny area is pretty dumb thing too do in this day and age.

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Those slides made of stainless steel and monkey bars made of iron! Almost everything on the playground was made of some heat conducting material. We just dealt with it. Kids today, lol.

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We just dealt with it.

Correction. Some of us just dealt with it. Just as some of us dealt with riding around without seatbelts in cars. Others suffered fatal, crippling, or permanently disfiguring injuries. The difference between playground equipment of 50 years ago vs today is not some nanny-state excess, it is a common sense response to stuff that was ridiculously dangerous.

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Ok, driving around in car without a seat belt is one thing. Scorching my little behind on a hot metal swing seat or a metal slide is another. Fortunately, us kids knew that the seats were hot and we did not linger.

So to say that those things were "ridiculously dangerous" is a bit over the top, Bob.

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So to say that those things were "ridiculously dangerous" is a bit over the top, Bob.

Did you not read the other poster's account of his friend suffering an arm injury that required amputation?

Rolls eyes.

They were probably given grief counselors who told them to forget what they saw.

I have a friend who went into brain injury research as a result of losing a childhood friend to this sort of incident.

We "dealt with it" by not going to the playground after 8am and before 7pm

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Go visit myrtle in your boxer shorts and let Darwin "just deal with it".

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brought wax paper from home (one of my better science ideas at the age of seven), slid a few times sitting on pieces of it. Really improved the speed of subsequent paper-less rides.

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And in the 2nd grade I got a huge chunk of wood stuck in my right hand ring finger. And look at me now! Builds character ! ;)

Good to see the wealthy residents of Beacon Hill spending their money on such important charitable endeavors as turtle sculptures. A worthy successor to raising funds to battle ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps.

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A worthy successor to raising funds to battle ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps.

Your history is incorrect. Neighbors raised money to install ADA-compliant ramps, offered to do so at zero cost to the taxpayers, and were rebuffed by the city.

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I think you might be confused Bob. I must of missed the part where the neighbors raised money and were rebuffed by the city. And, probably, if they were rebuffed, it was because want they wanted was not feasible. But I digress.

Your Hill friends tied the installation up for close to four years (or was it more like five?) because you did not like the original material proposed - plastic. Wait and then there was the color. You did not like yellow. And then, was there not something else? Who cares if those who need 'em, need to get around another way, huh?

https://www.masslive.com/news/boston/2014/08/beacon_hill.html

https://www.masslive.com/news/boston/2014/08/beacon_hill.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/05/06/lawsuit-settled-installatio...

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Beacon Hill's history of supporting affordable housing

But, hey, what's 30 years of neighbors' time and talent and effort and the millions of dollars neighbors have raised to preserve and enhance subsidized housing in our neighborhood, amirite? I mean, compared to a bronze turtle.

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Yes, we all know how Beacon Hill is known throughout the city for its subsidized housing.

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Yes, we all know how Beacon Hill is known throughout the city for its subsidized housing.

I will guarantee you that I have more Section 8 housing in my immediate neighborhood than most people reading this.

For starters, off the top of my head:

  1. 250 Cambridge street - 65 section 8 units
  2. Peter Faneuil school: something like 30 subsidized units.
  3. Joy street residences about 20 subsidized units for HIV+ tenants
  4. Beacon house: 85 Section 8 units
  5. Bowdoin School: 30 units, of which 25 or so are Section 8.

I'm proud of my neighborhood's track record on this issue. We have consistently, and for a long time, fought hard to prevent every single scrap of real estate in the neighborhood being converted to luxury housing. I'm particularly proud that, when landlords were tossing out people with HIV and they couldn't find any place to live, we enthusiastically said "Yes, in my back yard," and we put our money where our mouth was to build the Joy street residences.

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The commenter doth protest too much methinks

By parents in a suburb where patting oneself on the back is considered a form of exercise.

We have consistently, and for a long time, fought hard to prevent every single scrap of real estate in the neighborhood being converted to luxury housing.

Nice flex from a neighborhood sitting on multi-million dollar brownstones but worried about new "luxury" housing.

We have emotions for a reason; for instance, imagine pain. You have pain so that if you touch something that's hot, or if you slam your hand with a hammer, you will pull your hand away and not do that again. -- Leonard Mlodinow

Leave the turtle there, the kids won't touch it a second time.

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It was supposed to be part of the playground - you know, for kids to play on?

Think of it this way: it was like fake overtime money to a state trooper ... can't help but grab it.

It does explain why you are such a sorry ass troll, though.

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The turtle was a mistake.

It was a simple, honest mistake made by well-intentioned people who had some money and wanted to put something nice in the local playground, but who didn't anticipate how hot the bronze material it would get in the sun.

133 degF is not mildly uncomfortable; it is scalding hot. Water temp isn't an exact comparison, but 133 deg water causes third degree burns (tissue destruction) in seconds.

Why the hostile response and the need to make this into some kind of class warfare morality play?

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They better also get rid of the lamp post behind the turtle before winter. Triple dog dare hazard.

Now I want to go touch it!
Sounds like building it into or moving it from the spot into a water feature would be awesome. Or out of there and into shade. Tent structures are too vulnerable to wind.
Well intentioned playgrounds definitely can be hazardous. That rubber turf at some can become unbearably hot.
Maybe a temporary warning sign, “Hot Myrtle.”

Maybe mount it to a wall or something where kids can admire but not touch?

Rubber cover for summer months? "Sorry kids, Myrtle goes into her shell when it gets hot. We'll see her in October."

Though I can't imagine her being much more kid-friendly in freezing weather. Dare ya to kiss Myrtle!

I think it is pretty ridiculous how many of you are advocating for children to get hurt because their parents are rich or because you experienced something uncomfortable or unsafe and you turned out well. From over here, it is obvious that you did not turn out well. Children do not deserve to get burned or have their limbs hurt.

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...hurt children or toss the sculpture in the trash. But I agree: people who are ok with kids getting burned to build character are messed up.

People think I'm crazy, 'cause I worry all the time.
If you paid attention, you'd be worried too.

You better pay attention or this world we love so much...
Might. Just. Kill. You.

(I could be wrong now... but I don't think so!)

'Cause there's a jungle out there
It's a jungle out there

The Beacon Hill residents that use the playground want Nancy’s sculpture, but are asking to have it relocated out of the playground designed for and used by toddlers. It is a beautiful piece of artwork and any neighborhood would be glad to have it including Beacon Hill residents that use the playground.

For the folks that are saying kids should use this learning lesson about not touching hot objects, go to the playground and educate yourself on what age group the kids are that this playground was designed for. It is a toddler playground purposely designed for young children. 6 month old babies are regularly seen crawling around with the majority of the children using it being 4 years old and younger. You cannot reason with a 1-3 year old about the dangers of burning metal especially when the artwork is designed to appeal to the very same 1-3 year old demographic.

It was reported that Nancy Shon was paid $96K for this sculpture and is now advocating along with Miguel Rosales for a newly designed shade structure. Dollar amounts have not been proposed, but presumably they will both need to be paid yet again for remedying an issue that Nancy publicly acknowledged she was aware of happening with her previous duckling artwork. It would have been useful information if she provided this during the planning process instead of afterwards when it requires more work and money.

The residents that use this playground have proposed that the art be moved to other more suitable locations such as 100 feet away to the Peter Faneuil Garden or to the garden off Temple street. Both areas already have built in shade, are located on Beacon Hill and are in need of art work filling the empty spaces. The residents have also suggested moving it to shady areas in the Public Garden or Boston Common.

All ideas of relocating the artwork within Beacon Hill and nearby are being rejected by Nancy, Miguel Rosales, the City of Boston Parks division (Chris Cook, commissioner) and the Beacon Hill Garden Club (president, Kate Enroth). This despite relocation proposals being as close as a hundred feet away from the playground and are in fact areas that could benefit from more attention. They should not be ignored just because they may be located near low income or subsidized housing.

Kate and other members of the Garden Club do not use the Myrtle Street Playground because their children are all well over the age of 5. Yet they continue to push their agenda to turn this tiny playground built for toddlers into a park that appears to only benefit the interests of the Garden Club and Nancy. Word is that a book is being planned and the planners are not happy the children being burned are holding up their commercial efforts. Nancy and Mayor Walsh can even be heard on Boston public radio on Friday ridiculing the 1-3 year old toddlers for not being as tough as they were at the age of 10 sliding on metal slides.

The City of Boston and Civic association need to listen to people that actually use this playground and put the needs of the toddlers that use this ahead of the desires of Nancy and the Garden Club.

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Word is that a book is being planned and the planners are not happy the children being burned are holding up their commercial efforts.

This is a lot of innuendo to put into one comment. when I got to the "word is book deal" part, it all sounds like a conspiracy theory. Yes, agencies should listen to the people. More than just this one.

People commenting about burning themselves at the playground as kids and turning out fine or having it build character must not have been to this tiny playground for babies and toddlers, many of whom are not verbal. It is full of push toys for babies learning to walk. We go there all the time. The only kids over 5 who go there are with younger siblings. Word at the playground is that the city is listening to the wishes of Miguel Rosales, who donated the money for the sculpture, and Nancy Schon, the artist who was paid for her work, that it remain in the playground because of the book that has been talked about since the turtle was just a concept. The sculpture is named Myrtle and it is at the Myrtle St Playground on Myrtle St. Surely a book would still be profitable if the sculpture was relocated to a more suitable place like the Public Garden, the Boston Common, the Temple Street park or the Peter Faneuil garden, none of which are playgrounds and all of which offer pre-existing shade options and are in BH if that is important. Shady public spaces (not playgrounds) should be considered in other neighborhoods too. Perhaps the turtle and shade trees could be installed on the waterfront near the New England Aquarium where the turtle for which the sculpture was named lives. It would be great in Franklin Park or in the Franklin Park Zoo. The Newton green has large shade trees and would be a lovely place for the sculpture, and they’ll pay for transportation. It is the only playground for little kids in Beacon Hill. Most Beacon Hill families don’t have any outdoor space. Daycares and preschools use the Myrtle St Playground every day because they don’t have outdoor space either. We hope that the city keeps the Myrtle St Playground a playground rather than turning it into a space for the turtle sculpture.

This is about a playground for little kids and art that hurts them. Now the city is looking into building a canopy or shade structure so that the art can stay in the little kid playground. Can’t the money be better spent elsewhere than building additions in an already too small playground to make the turtle sculpture less dangerous for the tots? Just get it out. Boston, we expect more.