Kevin O’Leary, a Kew Gardens resident and member of Community Board 9, has been reaching out to city agencies since May to rectify accumulations of trash and a sunken storm drain near his home since May.
His guided tour for the Chronicle on July 29 included a stretch of grass along a fence on Union Turnpike across from Forest Park that is saturated with dumped trash and accumulated litter; an eyesore directly across the street from the park.
“I haven’t heard anything new from the city,” O’Leary said Tuesday.
But the city, in an email to the Chronicle on Tuesday, said a pilot program of surveillance and enforcement in Brooklyn between July 25 and Aug. 7 soon could be expanded to the other four boroughs in the coming weeks.
The announcement comes on the heels of a series of articles by the Chronicle in recent weeks reporting on dumping in South Ozone Park as well as Kew Gardens.
“As [the Chronicle] has reported in recent weeks, illegal dumping is a major problem in many parts of the city, leading to unsightly and unsafe conditions for residents,” the email stated. “In order to curb this illegal activity, the NYC Department of Sanitation launched a pilot program of increased, concentrated enforcement, beginning with our Brooklyn 5 district, which includes Cypress Hills and East New York.”
The DSNY said its efforts resulted in 24 summonses for illegal dumping, 15 for littering from a motor vehicle, nine for improper disposal, and “some higher level enforcement actions, including 16 vehicle impounds and even one arrest.”
“We hope that this increase in enforcement — and potentially others in the five boroughs in the coming weeks — will prompt all residents and businesses to follow the rules and keep the city safe and clean. We remind residents and businesses that they have a legal and moral obligation to put trash in its proper place.”
As for the eastbound Union Turnpike, the Chronicle this past Monday revisited the site highlighted by O’Leary, which is at the eastern end of Forest Park where Union intersects with Park Lane. The fence along which the trash has collected separates Union from the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
The Chronicle on Aug. 12 reported that the city’s Department of Transportation said cleaning the mess is a job for the DSNY. The DSNY said it was up to Parks and Recreation. Parks and Rec said it was the DOT.
The Chronicle was able to tell O’Leary something new — a broken lawn or beach chair now has been added to the roadside refuse, along with a light jacket that could come from a running suit.
Photos taken by the Chronicle from the same spot on July 29 and last Monday show that aside from the chair a pair of Heineken beer bottles remains undisturbed since July. A black plastic bag still flutters in the breeze, snagged on the metal guard rail. Some of the paper cups and discarded cans appear to be in roughly the same place in both photos, apparently unaffected by wind or rain.