City snuffs Midwood’s make-out lane

Olean Street denizens (from left) Nelson Soto, Erica Cohen, and Ralph Del Priore are overjoyed the city cleaned up their quiet — but overgrown — block.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Midwood’s makeout lane is finally free from the ravages of sex-crazed teens — thanks to a complete city makeover spurred by a series of articles in the Kings Courier.

The quiet stretch of Olean Street between E. 22nd and E. 23rd streets, a secluded and overgrown block with no sidewalks that had been a favorite of teens looking to hook-up for years, received a full overhaul from the city — and residents say it’s like living on a new block.

“It has been cleaned up and it looks good,” said Ralph Del Priore, a resident of the stretch. “People are not complaining any more.”

Officials from a number of city agencies collaborated to take care of the block; the Parks Department came out and pruned the trees that had canopied the block and weeded the street and cleaned it.

Residents said taking care of the overgrown trees, and in the process, uncovering a few hidden street lamps, was a big step toward scaring off the riffraff that had tormented residents for years, and they hoped the vagrants, loiterers and trash-dumpers that used to frequent the block would take the message seriously.

“We’re too open now, and that’s exactly what we were hoping for, to take away that little hideout,” said Del Priore. “But they have to understand we’re just like any other street. We’re going to be vigilant and we’re not going to forget about it.”

Del Priore, who is one of many neighbors that made up an ad-hoc task force from the block that petitioned the city for changes with the help of Councilman Mike Nelson (D–Midwood), said the next step would be working with the Department of Transportation to build a sidewalk on the street.

The DOT confirmed that it was considering the proposition.

“The block is being analyzed for potential inclusion in a future capital reconstruction project,” said spokesman Nicholas Mosquera.

Residents promised they had no problem with kids being kids — they just didn’t want their sex lives to begin on their block anymore.

“I’m sure they’re going to find other spots or whatever. They will do what they will,” said Del Priore.

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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