Trash alley! Walgreens, neighbor locked in Dumpster dispute

Trash alley! Walgreens, neighbor locked in Dumpster dispute
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

A Brighton Beach homeowner says that the alley behind her house has become overrun by rats and Dumpster-diving bums ever since the Walgreens pharmacy next door started storing its garbage there.

“I can’t live like this,” said Anesta Vega, 51, who resides on the ground floor of a two-story home her family owns behind the Walgreens store located on Brighton Beach Avenue between Brighton Seventh Street and Coney Island Avenue.

Vega’s Brighton Eighth Street house is separated from the back of the pharmacy by a narrow alleyway.

Walgreens moved its Dumpster from Brighton Eighth Street into the alley last month, after the container’s plastic top was set on fire, according to Robert Elfinger, a company spokesman.

Vega said since then the Aalley — which is not fenced off — has attracted rats, cockroaches and people who root through the Dumpster for cans and bottles each night, trashing the alleyway in the process.

Vega said she’s also fears the noisy nighttime prowlers could scare off her tenants, who live on her second floor.

One of the tenants, Donna Corallo, said the unwanted visitors are keeping her up at night.

“I can’t sleep,” said Corallo. “It’s a problem that really needs to be resolved.”

Garbage wasn’t an issue when the Walgreens opened about six years ago, Vega said.

The company — which purchased Duane Reade last year, and is expanding its stores in the borough — offers good deals and keeps its storefront on Brighton Beach Avenue clean, according to residents who shop there.

Vega said she only started complaining about the store to Community Board 13 after the Dumpster was moved.

Elfinger said Walgreens agreed to fence off the alleyway as soon as the company was informed of the problem.

“We’re planning to erect a gate to the alleyway entrance to block people from accessing the Dumpster,” he said, adding that the work would be done “within a couple of weeks.”

But Vega said people would simply climb over the gate to get to the trash. And she worried someone could set another fire in the Dumpster that could spread to her house — putting herself and her tenants in harm’s way.

Walgreen’s “solution is unacceptable,” she said. “I don’t want garbage stored there at all.”

The Walgreens in Brighton Beach has come under fire from some residents who don’t like the way the pharmacy throws out its trash.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta