Monday, August 3, 2015

Woman Burns Hand on Stairway Railing at Highbridge Park

copyright Roy Levit, with permission

As reported by  CBS TV 2 News, NewYork, August 3, 2015 — "The newly-restored High Bridge connecting Upper Manhattan with the Bronx has become a tourist hot spot – in a very literal and not exactly welcome way.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, one visitor said her trip to the historic span left her with burns.
Tara Cifarelli, an executive producer for CBS2 News, said her hand was still in pain Monday after suffering severe burns to her palm while on a staircase to the bridge in Washington Heights.
“It’s kind of one of those things where I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got to the top of the stairs and I saw my hand oozing,” Cifarelli said.
Cifarelli just visited the newly-renovated High Bridge last Tuesday, when temperatures were hovering in the 90s. She was climbing up a daunting, steep staircase to High Bridge Park while harboring a severe fear of heights.
“The adrenaline — I’m trying to get up the stairs, so I just kept going, and it wasn’t until I got to the top when I was like, ‘Oh my God, I really hurt myself,’” Cifarelli said.
Cifarelli was holding on to the railing super tight for her entire trek up the staircase. On Monday, the railing was about 120 degrees, and Sanchez could already feel a stinging burn on her only halfway up.
A surface thermometer showed the railing got as hot as 126 degrees Monday afternoon.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said the iron railing dates back to the mid-19th century. The city said it was restored in 2008.
The Parks Department said it has never received any complaints about the historic railing.
CBS2 did find some people who after touching the scorching rails Monday, said they can see how Cifarelli got hurt.
“Anything could happen if it’s real hot, and it’s been soaking up the heat,” said parkgoer Kathleen Heidecker of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
“Maybe they could put blue; maybe a lighter color, or maybe they could put rubber on it,” another parkgoer said.
The city admitted the typical black paint it uses might make the heat absorption a bit worse, but officials said changing the color might not make enough of a difference to counter the metal heating.
Cifarelli is worried someone else may get burned too.
“Especially a little kid — their skin is so tender that they could put one hand on that and it’s going to burn them,” Cifarelli said.
For now, Cifarelli advised, climbers beware."

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