Bay Ridge: We need to lock up Pigeon Park

Cage Pigeon Park?: Neighbors are calling for the gates of Fort Hamilton Triangle, otherwise known as Pigeon Park, to be shut to keep the homeless from flocking to its benches on warm nights.
Photo by Bess Adler

Neighbors fed up with Pigeon Park say they would lock out the vagrants who get drunk and urinate in the shadow of a public World War I memorial on summer nights — if they could find the key.

“It’s just too many people gathering there, drinking, creating garbage, and other unsanitary releases,” said Liz Lee, who works at Tony’s Market near the triangular greenspace at the corner of Fourth and Fifth avenues between 94th and 95th streets.

Workers at the nearby Hunter’s Steak and Ale House say they locked up the park at dusk until 10 years ago, when the 68th Precinct took the key away because it didn’t want a private business overseeing a public park.

Hunter’s manager Steve Gannon said his tavern would be happy to resume key monitor duties to restore the area’s quality of life.

“There’s fights there, they’ll be drunk, screaming and yelling at each other,” he added.

Park cleaners were equally irked by the trash heap left behind by the unwelcome guests.

“A lot of things go on here after dark,” said a Parks Department employee requesting anonymity while she swept out the previous night’s pile of used cups, cans, paper bags, and other debris.

Area resident Chris Russo voiced similar complaints, despite once being a homeless man at the park himself.

“Sometimes I see them getting five to six bags of trash out of there,” he said. “They should lock it.”

Not everyone, however, was a Pigeon Park party pooper.

“Everybody needs a place to stay,” said Bay Ridge resident Jacki Vanegavis, who called for her neighbors to show more sympathy for the homeless, many of whom she noted are veterans.

The 68th Precinct did not return calls for a comment about the key or its plans to better secure Pigeon Park.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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