Residents: Third Avenue sinkhole really stinks!

Residents: Third Avenue sinkhole really stinks!
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The sinkhole that opened near the corner of Third Avenue and 92nd Street more than six weeks ago is a stench-filled pit, say outraged neighbors who claim they’re constantly choking on noxious sewer gas and the dust kicked up by construction crews trying to figure out what caused the 70-foot-deep burrow to open.

City Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Jim Roberts told residents on Thursday that the cave in formed on June 28, which many believe was caused by a broken sewer line, won’t be repaired and filled in for another three months — drawing the ire of 92nd Street residents who say the sinkhole is ruining their street.

“You don’t live there. You don’t know what it’s like,” said Marianne Casey, who claims she can’t escape the gas seeping from the hole and dust from the construction. Construction equipment used to repair the hole, which is only a few feet wide, has also taken up several parking spots, she said.

Other Bay Ridge residents feared the sewer gas could be affect their health.

“It’s so bad, it stings,” said Lauren Grant, who claims that she can smell the fumes from three blocks away. “I have to wash my eyes out in the shower as soon as I get home in the afternoon.”

Merchants near the sinkhole say they’ve lost business ever since it formed.

“It’s a disaster,” said Frank Buono, who co-owns the Artisan Food Valley on Third Avenue near 92nd Street. Buono said that he and his partner Danny Accardo are losing customers to noise and odors.

Buono’s partner said construction crews should be working around the clock to fill the hole in so everything can return to normal.

“It’s just a major weight on our shoulders,” said Accardo, who said his store can’t receive deliveries because construction vehicles are hogging up all the spots. “They’ve got to kick it up to working 24 hours a day and just get it done.”

Roberts said his agency would try to get the smell and dust under control, but said site conditions doesn’t allow for round-the-clock operations — though he said he was open to increasing the number of shifts working on the repair project.

“I ask my staff every day how we can make this go quicker, and how we can maybe get more people on it,” Roberts said.

The 92nd Street sinkhole isn’t the only pit to form in Bay Ridge in recent weeks. Two weeks ago a section of 79th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues caved in and nearly swallowed a car. Civic leaders said that more than a half-dozen sinkholes and depressions have formed in the neighborhood in recent months.

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