Astoria Park’s Dirty Secret
By Ilija Sekulovski
Since the 1930's, the Astoria Park's Pool bathrooms sewage has casually been pumping its junk into the East River, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski at a monthly meeting for Astoria Parks Alliance on Tuesday.
The discovery came during the design for the new amphitheater, which will take over the old diving pool at Astoria Park. The designers noticed that the sewage pipes from the pool along with the Charybdis Playground bathrooms weren't connected to city pipes, but instead ran straight into the nearby waterway.
Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said Tuesday night that the blame was on the builders of the Pool in the 1930's, due to a lack of compassion for the environment in those days.
The designers of the new amphitheater have started working with the Department of Design and Construction to correct the problem, issuing an emergency contract with the Mayors Office for the Department of Parks to close down the pool and fix the issue before the new season starts up.
The playground bathrooms however are said to remain closed for yet another summer (perhaps years), due to plumbing issues and the city's lengthy processing times. This comes as quite a heartache for Astoria parents who earlier in the year started an online petition for their reopening.
The quick fix will be portable toilets, which were used last summer, and will be brought in again.
There were comments made that sewage problems like the one in Astoria Park is not a rare thing, especially in New York City, where so many parks and private properties were built in a time when pipes led to waterways.
Perhaps the issue now would be not only to fix the existing problem in our own back yard, but to also better examine all the other areas of New York that may have cause for concern.
The seeping sewage in waterways leads to excessive problems, with wildlife and flora who live within the river, and also with the communities who frequent them.
*Featured Image Via nycgovparks.org