The Boston Police officer featured in a viral video of a bumpy ride on City Hall Plaza’s new slide clearly didn’t anticipate how quickly he’d accelerate down the lengthy piece of playground equipment — or that the momentum he’d pick up around its curves would flip him over and lead to injuries.
You could see it in his bewildered and expletive-laced reaction once he landed at the bottom, skidding to a stop several feet from the end of the windy metal tube.
The group of adults recording his ride last Saturday were shocked as well. Before the video cuts out, someone asks, “Why was it so f-” — apparently about to ask why the slide had been so fast.
That’s what the millions of people who’ve repeatedly watched the video this week also want to know. Now, as the clip ricochets around the internet, grown-ups are making trips to the slide to see it for themselves, even as officials warn that doing so can be unsafe and have considered adding new signage to keep them away.
Some people have already descended the now-famous slide — dubbed the Boston “Cop Slide” — without issue.
One person who recorded a first-person-view of their ride after being inspired by the police video said it was “a little faster than the average slide,” but she was baffled that the officer attained so much speed.
“I don’t think I could do that if I had tried,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Another person shared a video of their friend riding down the slide without issue, and said they “genuinely have no idea how the cop got going that fast.”
Others were confused how the officer “attained warp speed.”
At the park on Wednesday, WBZ reporter Matt Shearer talked to other adults who’d given the slide a try, then decided to give it a whirl himself. He went so slowly he said he briefly “got stuck” inside.
But results on the kids-only slide may vary.
Just ask Terri, a 38-year-old teacher from Jamaica Plain, who ended up at Massachusetts General Hospital earlier this summer after a test run of the slide went wrong.
Terri, who didn’t want to use her last name, said she was aware the slide was not for people over 12, as is clearly printed on signage in the park. But she wanted to try it out before her kids went down it.
She described her trip as one that rapidly went from fun to scary, as she tried to slow herself down but couldn’t. She quickly realized, “I’m gonna be spit out of this thing.”
When she rounded the last corner of the slide, her body slid so far up the back side of the tube that she flipped upside down — an experience similar to the one the police officer in the viral video experienced.
“It slammed me over on my face,” she said. She hit her head again at the bottom of the slide.
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital ruled out a concussion, but she said the incident left a “baseball” size welt.
After her experience, she sent a letter to City Hall and filed a formal complaint with the city clerk’s office, along with emergency room records and photos of her face.
A city spokesperson said they received her complaint but determined the city wasn’t liable for her injuries.
Terri said she’s aware she ignored the rules for the slide. But she thinks the age limit might not be enough to prevent other mishaps, particularly for larger kids. She’s hoping others are more careful going forward.
City officials feel the same way.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michelle Wu said she was open to taking a closer look at changes at the park.
“We want all of our public spaces to be beloved and if it looks like we need to make sure that there’s more signage that this is for children or something, we can do that too,” she said, according to NBC Boston.
It’s not clear how many adults have made the pilgrimage to the slide since the video appeared online. But so far there haven’t been any injuries reported to officials, according to a police spokesperson.
The notorious piece of playground equipment isn’t the only slide that’s left people scratching their heads — or nursing head wounds.
A similar-looking slide installed at Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park was dismantled in 2021 after numerous reports of injuries and lawsuits, according to local news reports. The slide was also made out of metal and was long like the one at City Hall.
Erica Kinzelberg, 25, said she rode Boston’s slide late last year when it first opened, but emerged unscathed.
She said she was drawn to it the moment she first saw it, while walking past City Hall with her boyfriend. At first, the North End resident couldn’t even believe it was real.
“I’d never seen a slide that big in a children’s park,” she said.
She climbed up and get a closer look, then figured she might as well try sliding down.
By the time she made it to the bottom, it flipped her around and “banged” her face “on the side of the tube.”
Luckily, she was swathed in a puffy winter jacket and hat, which shielded her head from the metal tube. Her first thought, which was captured on camera, was “How does a child go down that?”
It doesn’t surprise her others would make this admittedly risky choice.
“Obviously, common sense says adults are not supposed to go down it,” she said. “But common sense for the people who designed it is this is a public park, and if an adult sees it, they’re gonna want to go down it.”
That doesn’t mean she wants it to go away.
“I was shocked that it was a public slide,” she said. “But I also love it and I don’t want them to take it away because of this. I think it’s going to be the new tourist attraction.”