We’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff in Prospect Park this summer — entrails, blood, chicken heads, dead turtles, swan-on-swan violence (alleged!) — but nothing compares to this morning’s disgusting conditions on the lakefront in the southeastern portion of the park.
Yes, Parks Department workers are already on the scene, cleaning up the mess, but there’s no doubt that this latest “Meadows of Shame” incident is going to renew calls for changes in park rules and enforcement.
For now, however, enjoy our latest video footage from this morning by clicking the screen above or this link.
In response to our video, on Tuesday, the Prospect Park Alliance and the Parks Department sent over this joint statement (edited only for punctuation):
“The July 4 holiday weekend, fireworks display, and the extremely hot weather together made for a triple-whammy as huge crowds flocked to the city’s beaches, pools and parks,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
“More than 2.4 million went to the city’s 14 miles of beach over the three-day weekend, with more than 1.1 million on Monday alone, watched over by a large municipal lifeguard corps. The 54 outdoor pools were filled to capacity, and tens of thousands more made use of spray showers in over 450 parks. Massive crowds also arrived at all the traditional picnic and barbecue spots.
“At Prospect Park, clean-up crews were out working in the park every day of the long, holiday weekend from 5 am until midnight as thousands of park goers enjoyed picnicking and barbecuing from early in the morning to late in the evening. The clean-up continues all day today and throughout the week and the summer ahead, and we ask for New Yorkers to pitch in by carrying trash to the receptacles provided and leaving it neatly placed next to the receptacles if they fill up.
“Don’t dump your coals near a tree because it will kill its roots. Recycle your bottles and cans. And remember, every time you re-use a water bottle, that’s one less plastic bottle going to a landfill.”
But New York City Park Advocates, an independent group, had a different take:
“Its amazing that no matter how many articles highlighting the lack of adequate maintenance and park enforcement personnel about Prospect Park are published, the city still refuses to address it,” said the group’s executive director, Geoffrey Croft. “This is a disgrace. Having inspected parks this weekend, including the privately maintained Central, Madison Square, High Line and Bryant, I can assure you these filthy conditions did not exist.
“Of course it is the responsibility of the park patrons who create these disgusting situations. They should be given summonses. However, you need the personnel to do this which Prospect Park, like most parks simply do not have. The Central Park Conservancy removes 5,000 pounds of garbage daily — daily. The point is, it is removed in a timely manner.
“Our elected officials just passed a parks budget that allocates a fraction of what our park system needs. There is no accountability.”