Sheepshead wasteland

Sheepshead wasteland
Photo by Alex Rush

A subway underpass in Sheepshead Bay has been turned into an illegal garbage dump that the city has been ignoring for years, say residents who are fed up with the grime and want something done about it.

Garbage bags, decaying food and broken-down household items line the stretch under the B and Q train lines on Avenue Y where some say that they have witnessed unmarked trucks and vans dumping rubbish, but have not seen the Department of Sanitation clean the mess — or ticket anyone in the act.

“I’ve seen random contractors dropping off bags of rubbish and people leaving food all over the place for pigeons,” said Don Brown, who lives a couple of blocks away on Avenue Z. “It’s terrible.”

The dirty block was first reported by the blog Sheepshead Bites.

Brown added that he e-mailed Sanitation in 2009 about the problem, between E. 15th and 16th streets, but received an e-mail back saying that investigators did not find any illegal dumping. But Brown says that the block is still perpetually disgusting and there are no garbage cans on the strip.

Department of Sanitation spokesman Matthew Lipani said that workers cleaned the site on Tuesday, but when this paper visited the block that same day, there were still plastic bags of trash, broken glass, an old transistor radio and a dilapidated bike that Brown said had been there for months. We also saw pigeons feasting on piles of pita and challah bread.

“There’s always garbage there,” said E. 16th resident Joseph Cappuccio. “I’ve seen people dumping their furniture too.”
Depositing furniture and other junk on city property is a crime that carries a fine as high as $5,000, according to the Department of Sanitation website. The city can also impound cars whose drivers are caught dumping.

Sheepshead Bay residents have done a fair share of trash talking this summer. Earlier this month, neighborhood activists called for solar powered trash compactors to solve the waterfront area’s chronic problem of over-flowing garbage cans.