Bergen Beach’s burden

Bergen Beach’s burden
Photo by Alex Rush

A Bergen Beach pedestrian path has turned into an overrun walkway of weeds, residents fumed this week, and city maintenance is nowhere to be found.

Waist-high weeds, as well as plastic cups and even condoms, are piling up along a city-installed pedestrian island on Royce Street — and those who live along the strip have taken to cleaning it up themselves.

“You can’t believe what disgusting things I’ve picked up from this mess,” said Dee Raguso, who lives in front of the walkway. “How dare the city ruin a beautiful block by not taking care of this!”

The city built the plant-filled pedestrian island between Avenues U and X about five years ago, though most people in the community objected that the plaza would make the streets too narrow, said Raguso.

“It was opposed by all the neighbors, but the city built it anyway,” said Madeline Taylor, another Royce Street resident.

Locals have learned to deal with maneuvering their cars down the single-lane road, but they can’t live with the untended weeds and garbage that accumulates on the plaza.

When this paper visited the site on the morning of July 8, there were more weeds than plants, and plenty of discarded paper and plastic cups (no condoms, though).

One portion of the pedestrian island, between Avenue U and Avenue V, however, was spic and span, and even had blooming flowers — though only thanks to the efforts of residents.

“Some of the neighbors have taken time to care for it themselves,” said Taylor.

That includes Raguso, who said she often tries to clean the trash turf herself, but can’t keep up with the never-ending filth.

The garbage and weeds have especially increased in the past two months, said Raguso, though she said she no longer sees the Parks Department trucks that used to clean the island each month.

“The city should be maintaining this,” said Raguso.

The agency did not return a request for comment by our deadline.

Raguso said she wrote to the Parks Department to complain about the garbage, though she did not contact the Department of Sanitation, which takes requests to clean dirty public areas on its website.

Sanitation had not received complaints about the island, said agency spokesman Matthew Lipani.