From The New York Shitty Inbox: More About Abate

Remember L, the guy who was complaining about homeless people sleeping and urinating at the Abate Playground? Well, he’s back— and not the least bit happy. He writes:

Hey, so I’ve been taking pictures of the Vincent V. Abate playground for the last month to show how gross the park has become, literally the same garbage and litter has been in the same place for almost a month now and I see parks people with their little garbage sticks at the park everyday and nothing happens??? What the hell do they do when they’re there?? Here are some pics if you want to use them on your site (note, none of them are from July 4 or 5th, that seems to be the excuse all the time, “oh well these are obviously the day after such and such holiday”)

Without further ado here they are. Enjoy!

Miss Heather

Quicklink: $86,528 A Year

That’s what we— the taxpayers— are paying to look at such niceties as what you see to the left: a man surrounded by rubbish urinating on a tree on a Saturday evening at McCarren Park. My favorite excerpt:

…In 2008, Stephanie Thayer became director of the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn – and the Parks Department’s director of North Brooklyn Parks.

Records show Thayer got $86,528 from the city. She said her work for the nonprofit is voluntary.

“I’m still fighting the good fight,” she said. “I’m just doing it in a different way.”

Read it and weep.

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: Miss Mousey Brown

From The New York Shitty Pool: Red Gate Garden

Taken by Miss Mousey Brown.

Miss Heather

Greenpoint Audio/Visual Presentation Du Jour: The American Playground

Given that we are embarking upon a holiday weekend (celebrating our nation’s birthday, no less) I feel it is only fitting to showcase Greenpoint’s very own American Playground. Rutila wrote regarding the above image (which I posted June 20th):

There was a homeless man sleeping in the jungle gym this morning when jumping rope in one of the handball courts. He was coughing, and I wasn’t sure if he was sick or clearing his throat to let me know I was interrupting his sleep. Should I have apologized?

Oh, and one of the trees/bushes that flank the storage shed/bathroom was pulled — roots and all — from its planter and dragged to the middle of the basketball courts. I don’t see how this would be possible without a vehicle.

I have been keeping a careful watch over this park ever since.

It isn’t pretty.

But what I was most puzzled by was the womens bathroom’s “new arrangement”.

I have no idea why the Parks Department, in their infinite wisdom, would do something like this. And here’s why:

1. This bathroom is located at a playground. Children will invariably get dirty and need to wash their hands. Most of the children I have observed at this park are tended to by their mothers. Thus, they will need to use the womens bathroom. And if someone is using it they are shit out of luck.

2. This kind of open space (with added privacy) is an enabler for all manner and variety of criminal activity. Foremost in my mind is drugs, as heroin addicts seem to have taken a shine to this park.

And then of course, there is this.

A detergent bottle (Tide, methinks, this brings a whole new meaning to Tidy Bowl) being retrofitted for some hitherto unknown purpose.

Here’s a close-up of its contents. And on July 1st, dear readers, I finally got the wherewithal to flush said toilet and film it.

It appears to be collecting water from the faulty plumbing. Incoming or outgoing I do not know. What’s more, it’s not important. This is yet another (and exemplary) half-assed solution to the manifold problems our parks “comfort stations” face. On that note I have word via a tipster/leaked email that port-o-lets are one the way. Four to be precise:

  • One for Bushwick Inlet Park
  • One for Barge Park
  • Two for McCarren Park

In regards to the lattermost, here’s what one board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— not the Parks Department— had to say:

They’re portable so, if you or other parks users have strong feelings about their placement, they can probably be moved. Personally, I think it’s a good idea for the condo-dwellers on Bayard to fundraise for the park.

This statement is in regards to a Bayard Street resident calling 311 and complaining about public urination; getting a letter from Adrian Benepe advising him/her to talk to our Parks Administrator, Stephanie Thayer, only to be asked by Ms. Thayer if he/she would be interested in fundraising for more garbage cans and bathrooms in McCarren Park (via Open Space Alliance, which is Ms. Thayer’s other employer). Fundraising for amenities one would presume (hope) would have already been paid for via our tax dollars. But I suppose I am being old fashioned.

To recap: a 311 complaint seems to have been employed as a recruitment tool for a not-for-profit org which, theoretically, has nothing to do whatsoever with a public urination complaint. But I suppose that’s what happens when you have a public/private partnership which is out of touch with the very people it purportedly serves. Here’s my advice for anyone who has issues with our public parks:

  • Call 311. Repeatedly.
  • Document and send your complaints to our local Community Board.
  • Don’t bother with our local Parks people, copy the head honcho: Adrian (dot) Benepe (at) parks (dot) nyc (dot) gov
  • It criminal activity is involved, go the the 94th Precinct Community Council meetings and make D. I. Fulton aware of it.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If our Port-O-Potty point person at OSA is listening (because it’s become all too apparent this organization holds the purse strings, not our Parks Department), you might want to toss one WNYC Transmitter Park/”Playground’s” direction.

It’s very popular.

Albeit not by not children.

When I saw this gent walk away from a secluded part of this “playground” a few days later I decided to investigate.

Yup.

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: Homelessness At McCarren Park

This item comes from a person we’ll call “L”. He/she writes:

I live across from the Vincent V. Abate Playground part of McCarren Park, otherwise known as “tent city” for all the homeless people that sleep/pass out in the playground area. Actually saw 1 guy passed out on the kiddie bridge and another pissing down the slide….awesome! Well, I decided to call some type of williamsburg/greenpoint public official so I found the email address to Assemblyman Lentol’s office (the guy who swam the canal for google internet) and voiced my utter disgust of the upkeep of McCarren Park. I emailed them a bunch of links of sites (your included) that showed how bad it really is and they got back to me with this….

“I’ve been told that the Parks Department has added 3 more workers to McCarren Park this week. Two more workers have been added for the summer to work weekend/late nights to supplement the efforts of the Parks Department. An interagency task force has been organized to address the homeless issue. A Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer is going to be hired for the district as well.”

Now I have no idea if the Parks Dept. is just blowing smoke or what but I’m hopeful..

This brings up a something I have been noticing a lot of late: a very visible increase of homelessness in our parks— and north Brooklyn in general. I have observed encampments at McCarren Park, Transmitter Park, India Street and the American Playground to name a few. I am not the only one either: I learned this when I spoke with a Department of Sanitation employee yesterday afternoon.

After I pointed out to him that someone has been living in the above car for at least two months (he said three) and he pointed out a new homeless encampment under a parked tractor trailer I asked him the $64,000 question:

Is it just me or is there a much more visible— and sizable— homeless population here than in recent years?

His answer was “yes” and he went on to tell me:

1. about how he and his partner accidentally crushed two homeless people to death when they tossed what they thought was a pile of rubbish into the back of his truck. He was truly horrified and traumatized by this.
2. he and his colleagues have been complaining to the city only to have these people taken into observation and later return.

I guess what I am trying to get around to is this: more workers at McCarren might improve the deplorable conditions at this park— but it is not going to address the homeless problem. While “an interagency” task force sounds promising, what strategy do they have to address what has to be (in my opinion) the largest homeless population I have seen here since 2002? I’m talking about addressing the core roots of homelessness, e.g.; unemployment, mental illness and substance abuse to name a few— not merely kicking the can by forcing them to move elsewhere (which seems to be what is going on now). Thoughts/observations anyone?

Miss Heather

UPDATE, July 1, 2010; It would appear L has received a call from New York’s Finest!

Hey missheather. so I just got a phone call from the 94th precinct about a complaint that I made to 311 about the homeless problem in McCarren Park and the officer sounding a little annoyed told me this “well, if they’re asleep in the grass at McCarren Park then I don’t see anything wrong with that, it’s not illegal to be homeless” and I said of course its not illegal but you have to know of the growing homeless problem in the neighborhood, especially in McCarren Park? His answer “I am not aware of this”…..WTF!!! After I told him about the issue of them camping out in the play ground and pissing on the slides and what not then he was more understanding saying “oh, well in the playground that’s a different story, we’ll send someone over there now”. As if their going to still be in the same spots as the morning…..I don’t know about you but I get the feeling that the police are either out of touch or just don’t feel like dealing with it.

LAST GASP: Presenting Newtown Barge Park Dot Com

June 29, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

This item was brought to my attention by Laura Hofmann, one of the founders of Barge Park Pals, the community watch dog/advocacy group for this park. She writes:

Is it common for concert organizers to set up a website for a “one time gig”?

I honestly did not know what to say. So I looked up the owner of this site instead.

So much for keeping it local.

Miss Heather

P.S.: I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this corker from Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn’s own web site:

Thanks to the efforts of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee (NCMC) and Barge Park Pals, a parkhouse with comfort station will be built in Greenpoint Playground. The small triangular playground is bounded by Franklin Street, Commercial Street and Dupont Street and is adjacent to the Newtown Barge Playground which is the only active park space in North Greenpoint (and yet Ms. Thayer et. al. saw fit to commandeer part of it for a concert. — Ed. Note.). The playground is heavily used and the comfort station is a long needed amenity.

So let me get this straight: it “is heavily used” and yet, Ms. Thayer, our Parks Administrator and Executive Director of OSA, told a reporter from the Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts this same park was (and I quote)  “underutilized”?

So which one is it, Ms. Thayer? Or by “underutilized” do you mean by those willing to pay $12.00 to enjoy a park their tax dollars are already (ostensibly) paying for?

Quicklink: Two Greenpoint Rapes

Yes folks, that’s two rapes in one week. The most recent one came to pass in the much-beleaguered McCarren Park womens bathroom. Read it and weep.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: PLEASE be careful when you’re out and about. Especially around McCarren Park and if you’ve been drinking. Yes, the 94th Precinct is among one of the safest in New York City— but that doesn’t mean this sort of thing doesn’t happen here. It does. Don’t become a statistic.

Miss Heather

P.S.: Special thanks goes out to Queens Crap for bringing this item to my attention.

Williamsburg Photo Du Jour: Two Ply

It’s refreshing to see that our Parks Administrator/”Parks Advocate” is taking neighborhood complaints about the lack of bathrooms at Barge Park (and elsewhere) seriously. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, this is the same person who saw fit not to notify the “Friends Of” group for Barge Park that this concert was going to be conducted at the park they represent. When queried about this her answer was (and I quote) they “had a lot on their plate”. Obviously.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Bottoms Up

While Williamsburg walked and the Northside rocked last weekend life went on pretty much as usual at McCarren Park.

Miss Heather

Greenburg Photo Du Jour: McCarren Park

If I had to pick one photograph to exemplify the state of our parks in north Brooklyn this would be it. A young girl sitting on a concrete ledge (which was created when our Parks Department, in its infinite wisdom, decided McGolrick needed this piece of fencing more) amidst bags of garbage and a bottle full of urine. All the while at Barge Park in Greenpoint the band played on. AND ON. It could be heard from several blocks away in any given direction.

Imagine, if you will, trying to throw a birthday party for a group of young children in the playground across the street from this?

I can personally attest that a group of young mothers attempted to do just this. Now imagine trying to do so while a gentleman on stage across the street is screaming the word “Fuck” at the top of his lungs. This did— indeed— happen. How our Parks Administrator— who also happens to be the Executive Director of OSA, Stephanie Thayer, lacked the foresight to know that throwing a concert across from a playground might be problematic is beyond me. Clearly she has other things on her mind. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say making money for OSA.

I know for a fact that a number of board members of OSA (which was in large part responsible for this shit show) have young children. It is not unreasonable to assume that some of them, had the shoe been placed on the other foot, would not have been very happy if this had happened during their child’s birthday party. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if their young ones were subjected to this “language” some of these individuals would raise holy hell. But therein lies the rub: the board members of OSA, having $3,000 a piece to spare each (so as to become board members in the first place) do not have to rely on public park space to have birthday parties for their children. They are able to afford other options.

I suppose some children matter more than others.

Miss Heather

P.S.: I suppose I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Barge Park has been waiting for a field house (so as to furnish this park with bathrooms) for several years. The money was supposedly heir marked but nothing ever came of it. Yesterday I counted no less than five port-o-lets provided by OSA/the Parks Department for concert.

It’s very telling our supposed “Parks Advocate” saw fit to provide such an amenity to transient park users but somehow cannot find the wherewithal to provide lavatories for the people who use this park the other 364 days a year? Oh wait, I get it: concerts— not toilets— make money.

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    Burned CarCommodore Barry ParkSohoSailors Snug Harbor - Staten IslandRed HookMeatpacking DistrictDowntownSoHo
  • Ads