There’s more than just balls dropping in the Marine Park bocce courts.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy hit the borough, the city has closed off the north side of Marine Park where the green space’s bathrooms are located, forcing park-goers to find alternative places to poop — and bocce players say their sandy play space has become an ideal location for those who gotta go.
“They’ve been pissing and shi----- in the bocce courts and behind the bushes,” said John Manzola, a salty Marine Park resident and avid bocce player. “They’ve been making the park a public toilet.”
With the bathroom trailers next to the still-under-construction Carmine Carro Field House locked, patrons found that the waist-high walls enclosing the bocce courts a suitable and semi-private alternative in situations where one’s pants simply must come down, players say.
“There was one person who was playing basketball in the park, he came over and he couldn’t hold it,” said Mike Camporeale, 83, a Marine Park resident who’s been playing bocce in the park for more than a decade. “We saw him poop.”
City officials say they closed the northern end of Marine Park so they can check to see if any of its trees were damaged in the storm and said the bathrooms were reopened on Sunday.
But park-goers say the city should have done a better job in advertising that half the park was under lockdown: there are no signs informing residents about where they can and can’t go, they said.
“This f------ Parks Department is jerking us off,” said Manzola. “The website says the park is open, so I called [Parks District Manager] Larry Major, I called Councilman Lew Fidler, and I said the bathrooms are closed and hundreds of parks patrons are using the park.”
Unlike Manzola, some bocce players are a bit more understanding. As it continues to recover from the storm, the city has more important issues to deal with than making sure the bathrooms are open, they said.
“I think they should have just kept the bathrooms open, but it’s hard to say,” said Camporeale. “It was crazy after the storm.”
Either way, the bocce courts have smelled better, the senior says.
“It’s kind of stenchy,” said Camporeale.Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn