The saga of Boston’s now-famous slide in Government Center has been hard to avoid over the last two weeks.
After a video of a Boston police officer’s ill-fated ride down the long and windy tube near City Hall was viewed tens of millions of times earlier this month, the internet took over, with people making remixes and parodies of the mishap that spread far and wide. A listing for the so-called “Cop Slide” even popped up as a “tourist attraction” on Google Maps, where users gave it five stars and noted it was “faster than the Green Line.” (The listing has since been taken down.)
Inspired by the video, countless adults made the journey to the slide to try it for themselves, despite signs warning that it’s meant for children between five and 12 years old, and not for grownups.
But the phenomenon apparently reached its peak in recent days, leading city officials to temporarily put barricades around the playground equipment to deter the frenzy of full-size riders who wanted to take the plunge after dark.
On Thursday night, one visitor who dropped by the park discovered that the slide — and two smaller ones next to it — was blocked off by segments of metal fencing often used for crowd control at large events. The barriers included signage indicating they were placed there by the city’s property management department.
The person, who posted about the barricades on Tumblr, said the playground was also “being patrolled by people who hate fun.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Michelle Wu’s office said in a statement that, although the slide is always technically closed after dusk to adults and children, the heightened attention had made it necessary to take more drastic steps.
“Blocking the slide off was a temporary measure as we were seeing increased activity at night by adults (when the slide is closed),” the spokesperson said. “At this point, we are using the existing signage and regular security enforcement to discourage adults from using the slide but are no longer blocking it off at night.”
The move came after Wu said last week that additional steps may need to be taken to keep adults off the slide, in addition to “more signage that this is for children or something.”
Fencing or no fencing, adults have seemingly been trying out the slide ever since it was installed in November of last year, including — at least in one case — at night on the way out of TD Garden.
Some people have even been injured in the process. One woman filed a claim with the city after sustaining a head injury, but her complaint was quickly rebuffed by officials, who determined the city wasn’t liable for her injuries.