Jacob Riis Park Used As Temporary Dumping Ground For Garbage From Sandy
The beautiful views at Jacob Riis Park are now obstructed by mounds of garbage as the beach has been turned into a temporary dumping ground. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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The drive to Jacob Riis Park is a familiar one, but now most beachgoers probably wouldn't recognize it.
Seagulls usually drawn to picnics are now drawn to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy and a steady stream of sanitation trucks.
"Residents of Rockaway and Howard Beach Queens are so lucky that the National Parks Service immediately granted access to use this facility or else the magnitude of the clean up would be a lot worse," Joseph Hickey from the Department of Sanitation said.
At Jacob Riis Park, a parking lot for beachgoers in the summer has morphed into a temporary dump.
All around there are mountains of trash created by items that were once the prized possessions of Rockaway residents.
Trophies and teddy bears represent people's saturated lives left at the curbside.
"Pictures, mementos all out on the street. It's terrible," said Steven Sokolowski from the Department of Sanitation. "And there is nothing we can really do about it."
The one thing they can do about it is help clean it up. Where three feet of sand once blocked entire driveways the Sanitation Department is slowly but steadily picked it up and carried it away.
"They've been working night and day helping us," one person said.
Trash pickup citywide has been reduced by a day so New York's strongest can concentrate their efforts in areas affected by Sandy.
Recycling has also been suspended until further notice.
Citywide they have collected 225 thousand tons of refuse from Sandy.
"Most people don't consider us [sanitation workers] as first responders," said sanitation worker Jimmy McGovern. "But I tell you what, after this storm, I think there is a lot of people over here in the south of Queens that will object to that."
They are trying to make the streets of the Rockaways look like they used to even if Riis Park temporarily takes a hit.
"Riis Park will be back to Riis Park for the summer," Hickey said. "I can guarantee you that."
For now there is no timeline when the clean up might be done.