It’s a sunny and unseasonably warm December day , the perfect time to take advantage of the last gasps of autumn and go for a stroll through McCarren Park. A young girl, no more than eight years old, rides her bike leisurely across the grass with her sister. Then, coming up on the massive wreckage in the middle of the field, she screeches to a halt, drops the bike, and quickly approaches the twisted metal and broken glass.
“Cool!” she exclaims, pushing up against the makeshift fence to glean a bit closer.
Maybe cool looking. Definitely not a cool thing to have just lying around.
When Hurricane Sandy swept its way through New York City, Greenpoint was largely spared. Some flooding occurred around Newtown Creek and along the banks of the East River, but compared to the damage inflicted upon lower Manhattan, the Rockaways, Red Hook, and other seaside neighborhoods, our problems were marginal. No loss of power, and – more importantly – no loss of life.
But in McCarren Park, near the entrance at Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street, the winds brought a stadium-style lamppost crashing to the ground, sending dangerous debris flying out across the green. And that damage has stayed.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Parks Department threw up a fence around the felled pole. Since then, they’ve focused on the city’s many Sandy-related problems. And while that may seem understandable many in the community feel enough time has passed and Parks needs to take action.
District Leader Chris Olechowski is one of those calling for the pole’s removal. “I know that the hurricane caused damage in many parts of the City, we know that in Greenpoint, thank G-d the damage was minimal, but still I think things that need to be done in our own backyard have to be looked at as well, in this time of cleanup and damage repair. It may seem like a minor issue, but it’s our neighborhood and we need to take care of it. It’s our park.”
As of press time, calls to the Parks Department by the Greenpoint Gazette concerning the damage have not been returned.
“You don’t want to leave something like this over the winter,” continued Olechowski. “You don’t want this long-term. It’ll affect the soil and grass if left for a long period of time. It’s a hazard. Not only is it blocking a pathway, it’s debris that can spill out. It attracts vandalism. The Parks Department should clean it up, and prepare to have it repaired for the next season.”
Assemblyman Joe Lentol’s office has also contacted the Parks Department, and was told that there was no forseeable timetable for the pole’s removal.
Concerned residents of Greenpoint are encouraged to contact NYC Parks Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey at 718.965.8920, or by email at “firstname.lastname@example.org”:mailto: email@example.com.