Do-gooders defy Parks Department to clean up Seagate park

Coney Island cleanup: Two 22-year-old friends led a cleanup of the shoreline along Coney Island Creek Park on Sept. 8, picking up 50 garbage bags of trash.
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A group of vigilante do-gooders strong armed the Parks Department into “allowing” them to clean up used syringes, glass shards, and other debris strewn along Coney Island Creek Park last Sunday, after the agency wanted to charge them a permit fee for the favor.

“You need a permit to clean the beach!” riled Gravesend resident Steven Patzer, 22, who helped spearhead the cleanup effort. “How can a beach in Brooklyn look like this?”

Patzer said he noticed the seaside park’s sorry state while strolling with pal Andrew Windsor, 22, along its sandy shores between Seagate Avenue and W. 33rd Street in August.

At first, the duo tried to get the city to pitch in, but a rep for the Parks Department told them it didn’t have the resources to fund a cleanup until October.

And when the young men offered to pull together their own garbage-picking team, Parks officials said they would have to pay $45 and leave the park to fester with syringes for 30 days while waiting for a permit authorizing the gathering of 20 people or more!

“I tried to convince them that this looks dangerous,” Windsor said, citing the large number of syringes on the sand.

But the pair obstinately reached out to Deputy Public Advocate Kashif Hussain, who brow beat the Parks Department into waiving the permit for their event, although the agency still refused to provide supplies for the cleanup, and Windsor and Patzer were forced to reach into their own pockets for necessities including gloves and garbage bags.

After hanging flyers around the neighborhood encouraging locals to join them, the effort quickly gained traction, inspiring between 25 and 30 nature-loving locals to show up for the big day on Sept. 8, when volunteers spent three hours cleaning about half the beach between W. 33rd to W. 37th streets — where they discovered no less than 26 syringes, according to the 22-year-olds.

“A lot of us worked together,” Patzer said. “This was a collaborative effort.”

The friends are now planning a second cleanup day on Sept. 15, and have written to local pols urging them to implement a permanent clean-up plan for the filthy beach.

“Nothing permanent has been done about it,” Patzer said.

A spokesman for the Parks Department claimed that agency staff already maintain the area on a regular basis, and that natural areas like Coney Island Creek Park aren’t typically equipped with amenities such as garbage cans, lights, or benches.

“Coney Island Creek Park is a nature area and is maintained by staff weekly,” said Dan Kastanis. “We will inspect the park for cleanliness, and address any issues accordingly.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 11:59 am, September 10, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Roman from Sea Gate says:
Unfortunately, it is not only the beach that looks like this ... this is how the streets are looking in brooklyn as well now. I have never seen such filthy, dirty streets as now. It's literally like walking in the garbage dumb. Disgusting. The whole infrastructure of garbage pick up and trash cans has to be changes, if our mayor is so fond of european style of life, why is not looking into it then.
Sept. 10, 2019, 11:45 am
Joey C from Clinton Hills says:
Please spare me any sympathetic stories about NYC's only gated community. Disgusting.
Sept. 11, 2019, 9:26 am
NYC guy from Coney Island says:
This is not Sea Gate they are cleaning up but rather coney island bay before it. Pay attention.
Sept. 11, 2019, 10:02 am
Penny from Cobble Hill says:
Why don't they defy the parks department and come and clean up my house?!?!? Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
Sept. 12, 2019, 6:05 am
Mary EE from Sunset Park says:
You should consider registering (very quickly) with the American Littoral Society's Annual Shore Line Clean Up. This event takes place each year in September, and the data that is collected (along with the trash) helps to influence legislation and changes to policy. ALS partners with the Ocean Conservancy in this effort. If you go on the American Littoral Society website and find a link to the shore line clean up, you can maybe register, though of course it's a bit late. I help with a group in the Canarsie area, and we actually get NYC Parks to collect the half ton of trash we pull out every year.
Sept. 15, 2019, 4:47 pm
Daniel Ioannou from Coney Island says:
Are unknown political candidates desperately needing publicity and rapport of community involvement considered "do-gooders" now? Ahhhh urban politics at it's finest. Carry on young men...
Sept. 17, 2019, 3:53 pm

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