Summertime — and the livin’ is sleazy.
Monday morning visitors to Prospect Park are long accustomed to the abject filth, disgusting debris and mounds of garbage that linger long after the fun of Sunday afternoon picnics and barbecues is done.
But few regulars had ever seen as repulsive a sight as the tsunami of trash that littered the lakefront on the park’s southeastern side on July 5.
This was not merely the leftovers of a fun day in the park. This was wanton disregard for basic human dignity. The park looked like a tornado had swept through a house — and not a tidy house, mind you, but one owned by a Collyer descendent.
In the midst of this landfill of revulsion, it was fairly easy to place the vast majority of the blame where it belongs: on park users.
No truly decent human being would leave his or her own park in such a shambles. There’s no other way to say it: these people are vile.
Park workers were on hand fairly quickly, but the administrators of the park are not blameless for the disgusting conditions allowed to exist on their watch.
For years, this newspaper has been running weekly stories about filth inside Prospect Park. And for years, the Parks Department and the Prospect Park Alliance have made merely cosmetic changes. There have been a few more Dumpsters and receptacles added, and there has been a charcoal awareness campaign, but mostly, park officials have downplayed the problem, and elected officials, who actually control the Parks Department and the NYPD, have ignored decent park users’ cry for help.
Here is what needs to be done — and fast:
• More enforcement officers writing more tickets.
• More trash receptacles emptied more frequently during summer weekends.
• A massive TV, radio and Internet campaign to remind park users that not even animals defile their own living spaces.
• An immediate investigation of whether a “carry-in, carry-out” policy needs to be implemented. Such policies are in place in national and state parks, so there’s no reason why a version of it could not be undertaken here.
This week’s filth comes as last year’s illegal “Heatwave” party attempts to get a permit for a July 18 bash. That permit needs to be denied. Park users have shown that they cannot be trusted — and the Parks Department and the Alliance have shown that they can’t handle the hordes.