August 19, 2010 / Park Slope / Perspective / Meadows of Shame

Time to take out the trash in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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Users of Prospect Park have long complained that the agencies resonsible for ensuring that the greenspace remain clean have failed to do their job.

Now there’s proof.

Over the past 20 months, not a single litterer has received a ticket from a Park Enforcement Patrol officer.

Not one summons — during a rash of filth in the park so egregious that we created a regular column on it called “Meadows of Shame.”

Interestingly, during the same period, Parks Enforcement Patrol officers issued 147 summonses to dog owners for pups off-leash.

That’s 147 tickets to the owners of roving rovers, and zero for the poorly mannered jerks who remain hellbent on leaving the park in worse condition than they found it.

Make no mistake; we’re not defending dog owners who violate leash laws.

But taken together, this 147–0 shutout is clearly a dereliction of duty by these “PEP” officers.

Worse, it could be an indication that the enforcement agents have been directed by the administrators of the park to simply ignore the trash-tossers who have turned the city’s most-important park into the town dump.

There are certainly worse crimes out there, but there is something particularly heinous and disrespectful about discarding trash in a park — one of the few public havens that cooped-up urbanites have.

And this particular oasis has numerous overseers, from the Parks Department to the Prospect Park Alliance to the NYPD, whose officers have written just four litter summonses compared to 50 off-leash summonses during the same period.

The seemingly endless spate of garbage atrocities in the park — coupled with the new evidence that park officials are doing nothing to aggressively fight the guilty parties — is an outrage that requires immediate attention at the highest levels.

Someone needs to take out the trash — and we’re not only talking about the garbage.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018: An earlier version of this editorial had a reporter's byline. No reporter on The Brooklyn Paper staff writes editorials. We take the separation of reporting and opinion very seriously.
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Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boerum hill says:
doesn't the picture show people depositing their garbage by overflowing garbage cans? Is that people running amok?
Aug. 19, 2010, 7:59 am
Viv from PS says:
Thanks Brooklyn Paper for exposing this mess to all. It is incredibly depressing to see this mess. Between the garbage, geese killings, wildlife trapped in hooks and fishing line, I am so over it... What the hell is going on in that park?
Aug. 19, 2010, 8:44 am
bkdweller from BedSty says:
keep ur racial comments to urself,its people like U who make
this country dirty ur the real garbage
Aug. 19, 2010, 8:57 am
John from Park Slope says:
The Prospect Park Alliance is the BIGGEST abuser of sanitation rules. The Alliance should be fined when they leave uncollected, overflowing garbage cans and garbage bags for days around the park. The lack of care and mismanagement starts at the top.
The Brooklyn Paper is right to decry the lack of enforcement. Those who are unable to get their priorities straight are most responsible for the years of neglect. The Alliance policy makers should also be fined heavily. They are the ones allowing the park to deteriorate day-by-day-by-day.
Aug. 19, 2010, 10:30 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
To quote the illustrious Dean Wormer: "Fat, lazy and stupid is no way to go through life..." When there's no enforcement, people tend to do what they want. And especially in this town, where people from all walks of life feel entitled to something - especially those who rely on city services from birth to death. Especially when it comes to sanitation. Someone will always clean up after you. Wahhhhhhhh.
Aug. 19, 2010, 11:09 am
Winston Smith from Poop Slope says:
This is comparing apples to oranges.

First, the dog related offences are about dogs being allowed to run wild in areas (and times) where they should not. Selfish dog owners do not care that a wild dog interferes with any one else's right to use the park. You can't have a catch, a picnic or just sit and read a book when dogs are loose. There are times and places that dogs can be let wild and these dogs related offences are offences against anyone who wants to use the park

To give a ticket to a selfish pet owner who lets there pet run wild is easy, the officer just has to walk over and issue the appropriate summons.

Littering is also reprehensible but in order to issue a summons for littering the officer must be there when the person litters. Of course there are gonna be less summonses.
Aug. 19, 2010, 2:52 pm
Mark Lieber from Brooklyn says:
How come you censor the vile sexist comments your pool "hottie" series provokes but not the vile racist comments your "meadows of shame" series provokes?
Aug. 19, 2010, 5:59 pm
thy from Park Slope says:
I think BrooklynPaper really needs to start indicting the littering hotspots. I live on the Prospect Park West side of the park and it is certainly cleaner than other parts of the park. There is certainly a failute on the part of day-trippers to clean up after themselves, but the Park itself invites disregard for littlering laws. If the Park isn't going to pick up the trash at regular intervals at the times of highest ussage, then any argument against littlering is moot.
Aug. 20, 2010, 12:18 pm
Bob Scott from Brooklyn says:
The photo accompanying this story show what, exactly?

It shows that those RUNNING the park are not doing their jobs.

If there's a trash problem, it is NOT reflected in the photo, where people are shown to have very neatly placed their trash adjacent to an overfilled trash can. The trash-generators appear to have acted in a mighty proper and considerate manner — it's the lazy bums charged with trash collecting (and who fail to empty the cans in a timely manner) who should be summonsed.

Along with inconsiderate dog owners. Sic 'em, Fido!
Aug. 22, 2010, 7:49 pm
parkside from lefferts gardens says:
i'd really like to read a followup to this article. i agree 100%. i am always in shock and disgust when i see the mounds of garbage in our community park. it's a shame! pls keep us posted if we can expect any real change to take place in the near future. thank you!!
Aug. 27, 2010, 6:36 pm

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