Like all Brooklynites who cherish our limited outdoor spaces, we are sickened by what is happening in Prospect Park.
And the lack of response by our police and elected officials is equally infuriating.
For more than three weeks, a series of bizarre and increasingly violent incidents have stalked the lakefront — from the discovery of some blood on the shoreline, to the slaying of turtles to the mysterious dumping of animal entrails and dozens of chicken heads to the arson fires. A duck and an opossum also turned up dead.
The repulsive situation hit a new low this week when one of the park’s swans died, possibly as a result of the lake’s current status as a toxic soup bowl.
None of these incidents would have come to light without the efforts of a small band of regular park-goers, who have adopted the swans and other waterfowl. Those visitors have informed the press, the Parks Department, the NYPD and their local elected officials — but only the local media seem to care.
If murder, blood, arson and death was stalking Central Park, it would be an international outrage. Mayor Bloomberg would summon his police commissioner to City Hall and demand accountability. Cops would be staked out. Waterfowl would be treated.
In short, there would be action.
But in Prospect Park? Nothing.
One problem is that operation of the park itself is largely parceled out to the Prospect Park Alliance, which is certainly a worthy agency, but one that has a vested interest in making sure that bad news about the park is kept quiet, lest a main source of revenue — donations from wealthy residents around the park — dry up.
And the NYPD has been a non-presence during the latest crisis. During that warm, summer-like weekend in late March, one of the waterfowl activists alerted an officer to a major clue in the case — a bird-feces–filled box — but the officer said he couldn’t investigate because he was the only uniformed cop in the entire park.
One cop? Central Park has its own precinct!
It seems clear what needs to happen next:
• The NYPD must put a detective on the case and, if need be, stake out the lakefront to catch whomever is dumping dead animals there.
• The Parks Department needs to react faster and more forcefully to alerts about new developments in the case.
• Borough President Markowitz needs to use that mouthpiece of his and shake the Manhattan bureaucracy more vigorously.
This disgusting outrage in our verdant oasis simply should not stand.
©2010 Community News Group
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