Trail trash! Red Hook street so gross no agency will touch it

Tear down the fence: Red Hook business owner John Quadrozzi Jr. is leading the charge to get the city to clean up Halleck Street.
Brooklyn Paper
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Call it Hall-yuck street!

A long-closed stretch of Red Hook’s Halleck Street is covered in a mound of dirt, trash, and overgrown vegetation, and now the thoroughly putrid thoroughfare is such a mess that no city agency will take responsibility for it in case it turns out to be toxic, according to one local leader.

“There’s a mound of soil there — presumably by a contractor — which the city refuses to touch because they don’t know what’s in it,” said Craig Hammerman, who is the district manager for Community Board 6, which encompasses Red Hook. “We’ve written letters, made phone calls, but the agencies have not seen it fit to have the soil tested and removed.”

A neighboring business owner claims the Department of Transportation first allowed a builder to dump soil on the one-block strip between Clinton Street and the Henry Street Basin decades ago, opening the door for other businesses to illegally unload their waste there. The agency eventually put up barriers to discourage people from dumping there, he said, but that just closed the road for good and turned it into a private forest of filth that has amassed litter including underwear, bottles, and sanitary pads.

“You have this whole public street that’s blocked off, it’s been an urban blight for a number of years,” said John Quadrozzi Jr, who owns the Gowanus Bay Terminal at the end of Columbia Street.

Quadrozzi and Hammerman say they’ve appealed to the city on several occasions to spiff up the stretch, but agencies keep passing the buck — an experience this paper can confirm.

The Transportation Department refused to answer several inquiries about the street, asking multiple times if the Department of Sanitation had said anything and referring questions to the state Department of Environmental Protection — though it also wouldn’t say how that agency was involved.

Sanitation responded with a one-sentence answer claiming it can’t clean the street up because it can’t access it.

And the Parks Department said the strip is not under its jurisdiction, and is also not part of its cleanup of the neighboring ball fields, which are riddled with lead.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook) promised results in a vague statement — saying he met with transportation Borough Commissioner Keith Bray about the street earlier this week following inquiries from this paper, and that “all agencies concerned” are getting their act together, although his office didn’t respond to questions about how or which agencies they are.

Rep. Nydia Valazquez (D–Red Hook) is also looking into the stretch, according to a spokesman, and wants to secure some newly available federal flood resiliency funds to turn it into part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a network of bike and walking paths running from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint that the city is slowly rolling out. The planned Greenway route turns up Clinton Street where the road closes.

But Quadrozzi would prefer to see it opened to vehicles, which he claims will improve traffic flow and give truck drivers another route through the industrial neighborhood — not to mention to and from his facility.

“I want it to be functional for the community,” he said.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 12:37 pm, August 31, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

hip, hip from Red Hook says:

It will be wonderful to get this mess finally cleaned and the street restored to public use.

Hope business, community, electeds and city agencies can work together on getting this done quickly.

and if Sanitation has a problem getting access to the street, I'm sure Mr. Quadrozzi would gladly donate one of his big machines to remove the barricades (which BTW were put there by Sanitation as a result of Mr. Quadrozzi's and the Red Hook Community Justice Center's prior "anti-dumping task-force" efforts).
Aug. 26, 2016, 12:04 pm
Cindy from Red Hook says:
Oh I can't tell you what a disgrace it is to see this mess every time I go down to that park. It's mind boggling that something like this can even exist in NYC in front of everyone for decades no less!

There's really no excuse.
Aug. 26, 2016, 12:21 pm
willy boy from Park Slope says:
Full of underwear! This street is just my speed. Do they have a lost and found?
Aug. 26, 2016, 9:57 pm
Louie from Brooklyn says:
Didn't even know it was a street. I just thought it was a mountain of weeds and garbage. Very strange.

Maybe now we can get some of those trucks off of Bay St.
Aug. 27, 2016, 1:32 pm
Marcelo from Sunset Park says:
"Hall-yuck Street" is the perfect name as that's what you say when you see it.

Been going down to that park for years and never could understand why it was like that.

Menchaca needs to get this fixed.
Aug. 29, 2016, 9:42 am
Alice Tapia from Red Hook says:
That dump site on Halleck st. in Red Hook is so disgusting! I'm sure something can be done. It's not rocket science! Red Hook has beautiful green spaces for our residents to walk through. I don't drive or even ride a bike. I just love to walk around this beautiful community and see the beauty not the trash!
Aug. 29, 2016, 10:15 am
Poots from The South says:
Turn it into an eatery. Gentrifying hipsters are so fond of eating their dinner in dumpsters.
Aug. 29, 2016, 1:15 pm
Alice Tapia from Red Hook says:
I'm back again! how long will it take to clean up Halleck st? NYCHA residents are still suffering from that site on waste station on court st,! and to make matters worst there's a nycha trash collection site by the clinton st park that stinks right across the houses next to a nice little Red Hook Garden that most tenants don't know who it belongs to???? My Grandchildren live on Bush st on the East NYCHA houses. I am very concerned about there environment. Yes NYCHA residents are concerned about our environment. We want the same things the new TRANSPLANT HIPSTERS have in the BACK! My grandchild is suffering from asthma.. Please do something fast! Perhaps a law suit is in order!
Sept. 8, 2016, 8:40 pm

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