The trees in Marine Park are getting plenty of fertilizer, and you can thank the city for that since the Parks Department routinely locks up the fieldhouse bathrooms before the park closes, forcing parkgoers to find alternative locations to do their business.
Community Board 18 has heard the complaints of full-bladdered Marine Park patrons and has vowed to take action by sending a letter to the Parks Department demanding that the restrooms in Brooklyn’s largest natural recreation area be kept open at least until the park is officially closed.
“There’s a bunch of trees over by the bocci courts and we were over there when, all of a sudden, we turn around and a guy pulls his pants down and poops right in front of us,” said Marine Park bocci player John Bourbakis. “He wasn’t he only guy either, there’s other people, and they just can’t hold it.”
The bathrooms in Brooklyn’s largest park are officially open from 8 am to 6 pm, but the park itself is open until 10 pm, so the park is filled with visitors long after the toilets are locked, according to the park’s omnipresent bocci players.
“There’s people playing basketball, tennis, and handball, and you’ll have hundreds of people in the park right up to closing, and yet the bathrooms aren’t open after six o’clock” said Bourbakis. “It’s ridiculous.”
Not only do the bathrooms officially close long before the park does, but Bourbakis says that negligent park workers will frequently take off from work well before 6 pm, locking up and leaving the park without any restroom facilities from even the early afternoon.
“Sometimes they leave at 2 o’clock, they lock the bathrooms up and that’s it,” he said. “After that you still have hundreds of people in the park for hours. What are they supposed to do?”
And when the park’s patrons do what they have to do, the cops do what they have to do.
“We see them going behind the walls and behind the trees, and if the cops see you, they’ll give you a ticket,” said Bourbakis. “We’ve seen so much over by the bocci courts.”
Now that baseball season has started, the bocci players — who see all and know all that’s going on in Marine Park — say its only going to get worse, according to long-time bocci player Mike Camporeale.
“It’s a problem, them closing the bathrooms at 6 pm, especially during summertime when kids are playing ball until seven, eight, nine o’clock,” he said. “I understand that they’re short handed, but that’s no excuse.”
Sometimes the bathroom situation in Marine Park is so bad the bocci courts themselves have become impromptu loos.
“It’s grossly unfair that, should somebody have the need, they have nowhere to go,” said CB18 chairman Sol Needle, before adding: “Except the bocci courts, according to some people, which I certainly don’t recommend.”
After Hurricane Sandy, the park, along with its bathrooms, were “officially closed” for a few weeks, but no signs were put out to ward off parkgoers, leaving visitors with only one option in the time of need — the bocci courts.
“It’s kind of stenchy,” said Camporeale at the time.
Reach reporter Colin Mixson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4514.