NY1 For You: Gardeners Blame Nearby Stalled Construction Site For Mosquito Problem
A massive mosquito infestation in one Lower East Side community garden has members pointing the finger at a stalled construction site. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.
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Mosquitoes are swarming everyone who enters Orchard Alley Community Garden on the Lower East Side.
"They are in your face," says gardener Natividad Calderon. "You walk and they kind of cover you."
Organizers say there's all kinds of events they can't host in the garden because of the severe mosquito problem.
"Everything from school literacy to weddings to picnics to parties," said Ayo Harrington, the founder of the garden.
Community members believe the source is a huge area of green, murky, standing water at a stalled construction site which sits right behind the garden.
"The construction has been halted for the past four years," Harrington says. "They dug down one story of foundation, the construction stopped and there's standing water there most times during the season."
The construction site belongs to The Educational Alliance. Community members say they've tried to work with the organization for years to remedy the mosquito problem to no avail.
NY1 called Educational Alliance and a spokeswoman told us the organization is currently arranging to have the site power-cleaned weekly to hopefully improve the drainage. She also said they're working aggressively to get the construction started again.
NY1 then called the Department of Buildings and they sent an inspector to the site. A DOB spokeswoman told NY1 that the site's project manager is currently in the process of removing the water.
However, community members say that's just a drop in the bucket.
"After four years, what we need is a permanent abatement to the situation," Harrington says.
NY1 also called the Department of Health about the mosquitoes and got referred to the Parks Department, which is now looking into the matter.
For now, the garden, which has been open since 1989, has sadly been locked by members, who want to avoid providing more meals for the mosquitoes.
NY1 will keep you updated.