‘Ponding’ submerges part of Avenue M

Bergen pond: Part of a block of Avenue M in Bergen Beach has been plagued by huge puddles for years.
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It’s a puddle muddle.

Huge puddles have plagued a street in Bergen Beach for years, and the city is doing nothing to fix the problem. One fed-up resident said there is no escaping the water, which stays from one rain storm to the next.

“It only dissipates if there’s an entire week of sunshine, but never really completely,” said Jorge Novoa.

There’s one large puddle — which Novoa calls a “pond” — on Avenue M near the corner of E. 68th Street. It’s due to the street being sunken in, which creates a puddle that stretches across front of three properties. It makes using the street and sidewalk difficult, according to him.

“Right now, you can’t cross the sidewalk unless you go around it or jump,” he said. “There are parents with strollers and kids in the middle of the street.”

And the problem of the roughly foot-deep body of water seems to be getting worse.

“I can’t take my car out without the fear of getting stuck,” said Novoa, whose car got stuck this winter. “It’s just horrible. The water has infringed on to my property and I fear it could go into the house.”

In the summer, Novoa said the standing water breeds mosquitoes and attracts trash.

“The water is absolutely filthy,” he said.

Novoa has contacted Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Bergen Beach), but has not yet heard a date the city will come to work on the street.

Maisel said he is well-aware of the problem, which he and others call “ponding.”

“It’s the bane of our existence,” the councilman said. “The ponding problem has been with us a long time.”

The city often needs to completely re-engineer the street, as opposed to simply putting on new asphalt, to fix the sinking, according to Maisel, which is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

He said there is some progress, though. The Council has passed Local Law 8, which he co-sponsored and requires to city to verify ponding complaints within 45 days and prioritize fixing such roads.

The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the problem. Maisel said residents are responsible for the sidewalks, but the city needs to fix the streets. For Novoa, the problem isn’t the sidewalk, though.

“The street is sinking, and this cracked the sidewalk,” he said.

Ponding is not a new problem in Brooklyn. Many streets, such as Clarendon Road in Flatbush, have been submerged for lengthy periods of time.

Novoa is not optimistic the pond outside his house will go away any time soon.

“It gets worse every year,” he said.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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