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Graveyard to truckers: Leave us in peace

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Boisterous big rigs idling along Bay Parkway are shattering the serenity of Washington Cemetery — making the Jewish burial ground a far-from-final resting place, outraged cemetery workers claim.

Employees say the noise from the trucks — which some say is loud enough to wake the dead — disturbs funeral processions, creating an environment unfit for the dearly departed. Truckers also leave trash and urine-filled bottles behind when they leave, forcing groundskeepers to spend more time cleaning up outside the cemetery than inside, Marisa Tarantino, Washington Cemetery’s manager, claimed.

“It’s disgusting what [the truckers] leave,” Tarantino said. “Visitors are afraid to park in the area, which can disrupt processions for us.”

Tarantino fumed that the tanker yankers linger lawlessly — sometimes for days at a time — on Bay Parkway near McDonald Avenue, littering the area with half-eaten food wrappers, and, sometimes, discarded furniture.

The section of Bay Parkway truckers use is residentially zoned, according to the Department of City Planning, so overnight parking of commercial trucks is illegal. Angered neighbors claim the haulers have clogged their stretch — idling outside of their homes — for nearly a year.

Police have raided McDonald Avenue twice — towing away 17 illegally idling trucks on Jan. 19 and another nine on Feb. 8 — but residents say the seizures are sporadic and haven’t killed the problem.

“It is disconcerting that the police don’t enforce the rules here, when they’re happy to give anybody else a ticket for just about anything,” said one resident, who would only identify herself as Patty.

But frustrated cemetery workers just want to be left in peace.

“[These trucks] would be more appropriate on some country dirt road than in the middle of a civilized place,” said Tarantino.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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