From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: McGolrick Park, Worse Than Ever?
Filed under: 11211, 11222, Bum Shit, Dung of the Day, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Other Shit, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn
In an email addressed to Assemblyman Joseph Lentol’s office, the 94th Precinct’s Community Affairs Office, Brooklyn Parks Commissioner (Kevin Jeffrey), Community Board 1’s Parks Supervisor/Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn’s Executive Director (Stephanie Thayer); City Councilman Steve Levin’s office and 50th Assembly District Democratic Leader (Lincoln Restler), among others a lady named Holly writes today, July 2nd, 2012:
I am writing this as a follow-up to the December 9, 2011 meeting concerning conditions at McGolrick Park. While it was said that a subsequent meeting would be held in April 2012 to readdress the issues presented, that of course never happened. And now seven months later, McGolrick Park is in worse shape than ever.
I will try to keep this letter as brief as possible, because I am very tired. . . tired of constantly volunteering and fundraising for a park that is continually destroyed, tired of continually pointing out problems that need to be addressed only to have those concerns fall on deaf ears, tired of being forsaken by the Parks Department and local politicians (with the exception of Lincoln Restler) who obviously do not care about the well-being of the park itself and the community that surrounds it.
I am attaching pictures I took today of the degenerating conditions of the park, and they should speak for themselves, but I would like to make the following important points:
1) The middle entrance on Monitor Street between Nassau Ave. and Driggs Ave. has become a residence for local drunkards. The area reeks of urine and alcohol and there are copious amounts of garbage and liquor bottles strewn about the area. They have literally lived in that unmaintained, isolated “meadow” for the past two weeks. It is disgusting and absolutely unacceptable. (Photos attached. I have taken the liberty of assembling them into a slide show which graces the beginning of this post. — Ed. Note.)
2) The benches at the center of the park have been destroyed for probably the tenth time since the December meeting. Graffiti is rampant. The Belgium stone surrounding the Monitor statue has been vandalized. The bulletin board has been broken – again. Garbage is openly thrown around the center of the park by the group of destructive and abusive teenagers that continue to haunt the center of the park. (Photos attached.)
3) There are trip hazards throughout the park. My group, The McGolrick Park Schools Alliance, donated and laid 1 ton of new top soil in the spring, filling in several of the larger trip hazards, but many remain. The other day my 2 ½ year old son was running through one of the lawns and suddenly fell directly on his nose. It was a large hole obscured by grass that made him fall.
4) Many people of this community blame the seasonal workers for the poor maintenance of the park. It is true that you can often see these workers sitting in the shack or on the benches. But let me be clear that the park workers are NOT to blame. If they are not working to their full potential then it is only because they are not receiving sufficient supervision and guidance. Moreover, after volunteering with some of these workers I was appalled to discover that they don’t have one functioning pincer and no work gloves – they have to buy their own safety supplies, and that is a travesty. So I gave them a bag of work gloves which is apparently more than their employer is willing to do. Also, I want you to be aware that these workers are verbally abused by aggressive teens and drunks on an almost daily basis. These workers, who literally have to clean the shit of the park, are treated as such, and they are given no support or power to improve their working conditions/our park. There should be a protocol put in place whereby workers are given the ability to call for police support at even the inkling of being threatened, or as soon as they see vagrants or vandals.
5) As has been true for years, the bathrooms of McGolrick Park are absolutely disgusting. Parents resort to allowing their children to relieve themselves on the perimeters of the playground rather than risk exposing their kids to the horrible bathroom conditions. This of course presents another set of health and safety issues. Moreover, urine and feces from resident drunks can still be found/smelled throughout the park.
6) The center pavilion is in absolute disrepair. Bird nests have destroyed the woodwork and so much graffiti has been haphazardly painted over that it looks atrocious.
7) I feel it should be known that following the December 9 meeting, and announcing that I would be starting a community group for McGolrick Park, I received a call from park officials “encouraging” me to work with The Friends of McGolrick instead of starting my own group (which would target children and families of our local schools). In addition, I was told that any police reports concerning the park should be left to Morgan Pehme (Mr. Pehme is the head of the Friends of McGolrick Park Group— Ed. Note) to make. So essentially, I was being asked to give up my fundamental rights as a citizen to accommodate the needs of others. Thankfully, I stuck to my guns and refused to work with “The Friends” as I clearly knew from the start that the group was impotent. To my knowledge they have not held one clean-up or community event within the park, and what is more infuriating is that they were handed $2500 from Exxon Mobil that has not been used or accounted for. This is money that should have been used for the benefit of our park and community and no one knows where it has gone.
This will be the last time I will reach out to those civil servants who are responsible for maintaining the health, safety, and beauty of our local park. I no longer wish to see my hard work and energy go down the drain because the people in charge just don’t care. However, if you are a community member reading this letter and are as outraged as I am, please forward this to others, and contact those officials that this email is addressed to. Tell them that you agree with these words – maybe then, someone will be held accountable and our park and neighborhood can change (back) for the better.
Here’s the deal, folks: Holly is not the only concerned citizen who is disgusted with the deteriorating state of this park. It was brought to my attention after last week’s Public Safety Committee meeting by a life-long Greenpoint resident and yet another parks patron has seen fit to do some documentation of her own. Her focus was on public defecation. Without further ado, here are her findings.
I honestly do not know what I can say that I have not said many times before— but I will do so (again) anyway. Until we as citizens, our civil servants and elected officials take up the matter of the homeless (and addiction) problem here honestly and realistically, I do not see anything changing. I was both saddened and disgusted when I happened upon a man who was clearly in need of medical help today in plain view of the McCarren Park Field House and the recently (re)opened pool. The latter of which, not surprisingly, has been receiving a great deal of police attention the last two days.
UPDATE, 6:51 p.m.: There appears to have been another incident at the McCarren Park Pool. Click here for Gothamist’s take.
UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Holly gets a response— and responds!