PHOTO: After an investigation by his office, Assemblyman Goldfeder said he has confirmed ownership of the rocks by MTA New York City Transit and is now urging the agency to take steps to clean the Hamilton Beach eyesore. Photo Courtesy of NYS Assembly
By Michael V. Cusenza
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) this week said he has confirmed that a previously unclaimed stretch of Gateway National Recreation Area parkland is Metropolitan Transportation Authority property, and urged the agency to clean the graffiti-marred rocks and remove the debris that have made it a community eyesore for years.
Last Friday, Goldfeder received confirmation from the City that the rocks in the Hamilton Beach Park section of Gateway were in fact owned by MTA New York City Transit. Additionally, Goldfeder said, aerial maps provided by the Asset Management Division at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services place the rocks and areas adjacent to the A-Train tracks within property owned by NYCT.
“After some sleuthing by my office, we can confirm that the Hamilton Beach graffiti rocks are owned by New York City Transit,” Goldfeder said. “For too long, this blight on our community has spoiled the beautiful vistas of Jamaica Bay that our families and visitors from all over come to Hamilton Beach Park to enjoy. I urge NYC Transit to own up to this situation so that we can work together to begin cleaning it up.”
Goldfeder has written to NYCT calling on the agency to enter into an agreement with the National Park Service to clean the rocks. According to the letter, he was informed by NPS that park maintenance crews could be dispatched to clean the graffiti—which includes multiple vulgar phrases, and strewn trash. However, Goldfeder said, NPS would first need to obtain a written agreement from NYCT allowing crews to come onto its property.
“The initial review of the property did not take into account the embankment of the subway tracks, which includes the rocks in the area,” said MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan. “We will work with the National Park Service and elected officials to ensure the area is cleaned.”
Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association, applauded Goldfeder’s pursuit of a solution to the issue.
“Hamilton Beach Park has seen some improvements over the past few years, with many families using the new playground equipment, but the graffiti written on the rocks by the MTA Bridge is not only an eyesore that reflects poorly on our neighborhood, but the vulgar language is not something the children need to read,” he said.
Goldfeder thanked the NPS “for being strong and consistent advocates” throughout the process.