Brooklynites already furious over the city’s slow response to the Blizzard of 2010 found a new reason for outrage after a Brooklyn Heights resident broadcast a video showing a Sanitation Department tractor negligently demolishing three cars on Joralemon Street as residents screamed in horror.
The viral YouTube video from Monday morning showed an apparent disregard — or simple ineptness — by city workers as they inflicted devastation on the three cars, including a Housing Authority SUV driven by Eugene McArdle.
“Come on!” the Housing worker’s wife, Kathleen, is heard screaming on the riveting video, helpless as the snowplow also smashed up her daughter’s car near Hicks Street.
“Nobody leaves here until I get a police report!” she yelled. “This is ridiculous!”
No cops came by that morning, as crews dealt with the larger citywide disaster. The Sanitation Department said on Tuesday that it is “investigating” the incident that destroyed the $37,000 city car, and two others in a maelstrom of twisted metal.
The three vehicles were still on the street on Tuesday afternoon, their windows smashed in and yellow paint — likely from the snowplow — pock-marking their dents and scratches.
It may not be the worst story of the great blizzard that struck predominantly in Brooklyn on Dec. 26, but it’s certainly one of the most baffling — especially considering the four-minute-long footage, which shows both the tow truck and tractor-turned-snowplow backing repeatedly into the McArdle’s cars and a third vehicle.
“They knew they were hitting the cars — I was sitting there screaming,” Kathleen McArdle told us. “But they ignored us. They just kept going.”
The city has been mostly mute on the subject, likely because of the incriminating evidence. The video — which, by Tuesday night, had been viewed 300,000 times and received thousands of angry comments — was posted at a time when footage can be disseminated instantaneously over the Internet, causing a public relations debacle for city agencies involved in messes that, in years past, would never have even been known beyond the block.
The Heights wreck wasn’t even the only Sanitation Department shenanigan caught on tape in the wake of the storm. Another YouTube video, posted by Coney Island resident Jason Letterman early Monday morning, shows three department snowplows parked at 18th and Coney Island avenues — while their drivers sit in a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. Letterman claims that the trucks were parked there for more than five hours, and that both avenues are still covered in white powder.
“Obviously they’re saying they can’t do anything because there are cars all over the street,” Letterman told us. “But why don’t they take them somewhere else and get the job done? Sitting in Dunkin’ Donuts is ridiculous. They’re crippling the city.”
The city didn’t comment on the video by our no-coffee-break deadline.
©2010 Community News Group
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