What a dump! It must have been ‘Messy Monday’ in Prospect Park

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Monday mornings have become a stinking mess at Prospect Park this summer, where overflowing piles of trash, rotting food, and more litter than you can shake a half-eaten chicken leg at have become a weekly ritual.

“This is a classic problem,” said Prospect Park spokesman Eugene Patron. “People like to have fun over the weekend and leave more trash than on any other day.”

No additional staff is added for Mondays, though Patron said the city brings on more workers for the summer than during the less-busy winter months.

He added that the park’s improved safety over the last few years has encouraged more visitors — and now these visits last later into the night.

“The park is getting safer, so people are happier to do those activities that attract more garbage, and [are] doing them later,” he said. “After a certain hour, it’s too [dark] to send our trucks out, so the later people stay, the more trash builds up.

That’s why those Monday cleanups take longer than on any other days, he added.

A Brooklyn Paper reporter certainly found that out. Visiting the park early on a Monday afternoon, he found epic amounts of detritus all along the west side of the park with trash cans overflowing and waiting for relief.

The problem extended beyond the pathways in the park onto the grassy knolls, which were heavily sprinkled with wrappers, plastic forks and knives, fast-food containers, and half-eaten watermelons and other leftovers — and in at least one case, a soiled diaper.

This growing problem is heavy on the minds of many nearby residents.

“There’s just a frustrated sentiment in the neighborhood about the garbage problem because it tempts all of our dogs to pick at the trash,” said Susan Ryan, a 48-year-old veterinarian from Carroll Gardens. “This is crap.”

Park Sloper Rebecca Meyers added: “I moved to this neighborhood to be close to the park. It’s a shame that I can’t use this area any more because of all the trash.”

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

DW from Park Slope says:
And the sloppiness is park-wide. Some observers in the past cited only the eastern half of the park as being, ahem, racist, because a few melon rinds and chicken bones were found along with the soiled nappies. Now the mess is park-wide, from GAP all the way down Flatbush, to PPS and PPW. The WHOLE park, from under Sen. Schumer's nose to some homeless guy in the weeds by the lake.
No matter how many trash cans abound or how many plastic garbage bags there might be ... it takes more than two days for the parkies to clean up after the weekends.
July 22, 2008, 2:18 pm
Captain from Brooklyn says:
I'm not sure I follow what DW is saying but the park does a better job of cleaning the Park Slope side. Coincidentally this is the side where their offices are.

It's just human nature.
July 22, 2008, 6:07 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
prospect park has been allowed to be turned into a local BBQ and outdoor resturant by city officials who look the other way and do not provide any enforcement against illegal uses of the park. the condition of the park is a discrace,the flatbush ave. side of the park has become an overnight parking lot for trucks and tractor trailers. the perimiter fence of the park is all broken and hasn't been repaired or replaced for years. this could never happen in central park..we have bad park management and poor oversite by the mayor.
July 23, 2008, 6:10 am
matt from park slope says:
There are multiple layers to this problem. First off, the families/friends having large picnics are not planning for their garbage ahead of time by bringing some large trash bags. Instead they pile items up one by one and the lighter garbage flies everywhere in the breeze. Second, the park's garbage trucks are not coming around often enough on Saturdays and Sundays. The city could surely help them out with some loaner trucks on the weekend to pick up trash around the perimeter of the park. Third, people are using the park almost 24 hours a day now. I live on PPW and there are picnics that go to 1 or 2 am and then there are people securing spots beginning at 5 or 6 am (and starting to BBQ at that early hour too). Add in the kids that use the park in between those hours to party and have somewhere to go and you are fighting a losing battle. I love having the park full on the weekends and I am not against kids having fun, but if you are planning a gathering in the park, bring a few garbage bags, leave the trash cans for those with real litter.
July 23, 2008, 1:02 pm
CP from windsor terrace says:
Actually, if you leave something near the can, but not in it, you are still a slob. Try bringing a garbage bag with you or carrying your trash an extra block to a non-overflowing can.
July 23, 2008, 1:53 pm
Charles from PS, Slope says:
I was privy to the total mess left last weekend, and I have to ask, where is the common sense of our parks department?

The doctrine they need to learn is called reasonable expectancy. If there are going to be large crowds, then put containers, called trash bins, in sufficient quanities so when there is trash, people will have an easy and efficient way to dispose of their trash. Then, instead of wasting valuable time and resources to pick the trash up, they can just pick up the containers.

The one important thought I had, except, of course, for the tragedy of living in a pathetic garabage filled world, was how much money is the city wasting everyday when they are unable to use simple, almost child-like common-sense principles to do a better, more efficient, and more respectable job. Through experience, I know garbage, and this is not its finest moment.
July 23, 2008, 4:30 pm
JDT from Windsor Terrace says:
When I barbecued in the park over Memorial Day weekend, park officials came around handing out barbecue rules. If they handed out garbage bags, too, it would ensure that more people would pack up their garbage before leaving the park.

It would also behoove the city to make some public service announcements reminding people that littering in the city's few green spaces just isn't cool.
July 28, 2008, 11:52 am
Spider from Park Slope says:
If you go to the park and know that you are going to produce garbage. Take a bag with you and dispose your garbage near a garbage can if it is full. Simple as that!
Sept. 20, 2011, 10:25 am

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