City: Lovers’ lane getting a makeover

Olean Street residents are sick of the chaos on their block — and Sam Fridnan says the tall weeds are part of the problem.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The city is taking back a lush tree-lined block that sex-crazed teens have turned into their personal love shack — and residents living on the troubled street say it’s about time.

City agencies are finally targeting an unkempt portion of Olean Street that residents say has drawn horny teenagers, as well as illegal dumpers, loiterers, drug users, and prostitutes.

“I’m glad that the city is cooperating with us and trying to give us a hand,” said resident Ralph Del Priore, who saw Parks Department employees pruning a thatch of overgrown trees on the blocks a few days ago — and was surprised at what the crews uncovered. “We found out that we have three street lights, not just two!”

Residents say the block between E. 22nd and E. 24th streets has attracted riff-raff because of its overgrown trees and weeds. They want the city to clean up the street and install a sidewalk on the block so troublemakers will know that this is a city street, not a back alley or a country lane no one cares about.

The city has begun helping out after years of neglect, but only after neighbors organized a neighborhood task-force and demanded action, they say.

Residents who have reported constant trash dumping, illicit licentious behavior, and constant loitering and drug use by the teens, say the recent moves by the city are helping cut down on the chaos — but still aren’t enough.

“This isn’t a one shot deal and the situation goes away,” said Del Priore. “If we don’t stay on top of the block, it’s just going to go back to the starting point.”

Neighborhood legislators promised to press the city to direct more services toward Olean Street.

“All the city groups involved all responded very positively so far,” said Chaim Deustch, a spokesman for Councilman Mike Nelson (D–Midwood).

A city Department of Transportation spokesman said his agency will assess the block this month to determine whether its prudent to install a sidewalk on Olean Street.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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