In case you haven’t been following coverage about the recent decline of parks, we are not alone. Last week’s NY Post and other media outlets have been covering how garbage is being picked up less often, weeds seem to be taking over, and there is less staff than ever before in all NYC parks. Yet, parks are being used by more people than in the past. All of this is because of the pandemic and why we relaunched a volunteer campaign in the park this month. The park sorely needs everyone’s help. To learn how you can pitch in, check out https://www.marineparkalliance.org/volunteer/.
Then, on top of the pandemic budget problems, we have the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias. The storm damage in 40 minutes was almost as bad as the three-day Hurricane Sandy. Marine Park is now a collection site for dead trees, limbs, and woodchips that came down throughout the area. More specifically, the collection location is in front of my house in the Avenue S parking lot. This has made me a collector of complaints from the neighborhood. Homeowners knock on my door to report that they are having difficulty breathing because of the dust that comes with the tree debris. Their driveways are blocked because cars are being parked in front of their homes since the lot is closed. They also ask how could we let this happen.
The Brooklyn Parks Commissioner explained to me that this is just for the emergency and it will be cleared in a month or so. What we don’t understand is why this collection can’t be done in the huge empty lots far from where people live, such as Floyd Bennett Field, the defunct Toys R Us on Flatbush Avenue, or even the Avenue U lot that was used for this purpose in the last storm.
I’d like to recommend to the Office of Emergency Management for the City, to employ these other spaces for the safety and well-being of the park’s neighbors. Plan now for next time, please, because there will be a next time soon.
We are people who live here. We are the eyes and ears of the park and we pitch in to care for it. We want to help, not just with picking up garbage and weeding. We’d like to help find a better solution for emergency collection sites in this end of Brooklyn. There are more storms coming and we should be ready.
Board Chair, Marine Park Alliance