Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza
…and leave behind plenty of marks.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The first thing that gets you is the stench—unmistakable and overwhelming. It hijacks the olfactory receptors even 10-15 yards away. As you amble closer to the underpass at 84th Street between 157th Avenue and Shore Parkway, the culprits become clearer: dozens of pigeons, Gotham’s unofficial yet ubiquitous mascots, in the rafters, seemingly unfazed by the vehicles pounding the asphalt just a few feet above on the Belt Parkway. Below them is a massive Jackson Pollock canvas of waste, making it virtually impossible to traverse the walkway.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) this week described the Howard Beach underpass as “not only an eyesore, but a health hazard as well.” On Monday, Addabbo said that he has reached out to the City Department of Sanitation and the State Department of Transportation regarding the persistent problem. While the two agencies have created successful short-term answers, the senator wants to secure a more long-term solution to the matter.
“I understand your frustration,” Addabbo acknowledged on Tuesday at the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic meeting. “It is going to be resolved. Mark my words.”
The senator speaks from experience. In 2016, Addabbo collaborated with the State DOT to resolve an issue of excessive pigeon waste at the underpass along 80th Street under the Long Island Expressway in Middle Village. After studying the location, the agency placed wooden boards underneath the roadway to prevent pigeons from congregating.
On Tuesday, Addabbo noted that NYSDOT officials recently inspected the underpass and were scheduled to return “in the next few days.”
“We were able to mitigate the situation in Middle Village, and I have no doubt that the underpass in Howard Beach will see similar results,” said the confident senator.
He will have some help. According to City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the Wildcat Service Corporation staff is set to clean the area—with power washers—by Friday, Sept. 28. Additionally, Ulrich has expressed his desire to install a mural dedicated to military veterans on the west side wall of the underpass.