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Lack of Restrooms at Hunters Point South Park Causes Concern as Park Sets to Expand

A line of women and children waiting to use the restrooms at LIC Landing (Photo: Queens Post)

April 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

As the city comes closer to opening Phase II of Hunters Point South Park, many are concerned for what could potentially become a messy situation at the expanded site.

The lack of additional public restrooms going up with the new 5.5 acre site’s opening, to be exact, has left many in the community wondering what will happen at the popular, sprawling park this summer, especially when more visitors begin to pour in to the 11-acre stretch.

The warm weather last Saturday gave Brent O’Leary, President of the Hunters Point Civic Association, a preview of what’s to come.

“Last weekend was more like Grand Central Station than a park,” O’Leary said.

The existing restrooms at LIC Landing, where the women’s room has three stalls and the men’s room has a urinal and two stalls, were packed to capacity as more park-goers waited in long lines to use them.

“The city has to understand this is not just a neighborhood park,” O’Leary said. “It’s becoming one of the most used parks in the city.”

But concerns about public restrooms at the park’s second phase are not new, and date back two to three years ago, when the city’s Economic Development Corporation and the park’s designers first began presenting their plan for the second half of the park to the community.

At a 2015 Hunters Point Parks Conservancy meeting, for example, many basked in the new park’s amenities and design, but said the existing bathrooms at Phase I would not be sufficient to serve everyone. The EDC said at the time that they would work to address the issue with the Parks Department.

Since then, the agency has opened the two southernmost plots of land by the waterfront—parcels F and G—for developers to build, requiring them to provide a public restroom in order to be considered.

A map showing parcel F and G of the development. Additional public restrooms will be built at parcel G, according to the EDC.

An EDC spokesperson said the selected developers, announced in November, will build a public restroom on Parcel G, which is adjacent to Phase II of the park.

But a timeline for the parcel’s development is still hazy. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the agency that dictates the parcel’s construction, said it’s too early in the predevelopment process to give a construction timeline.

Rob Basch, President of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, anticipates waiting two to three years for the restrooms at the parcel to open. “For the next couple of years it’s an issue,” he said.

Basch said conversations with the city on the issue have pointed to the difficulties in providing public restrooms not just at the park, but elsewhere in the city.

“Bathrooms are difficult for a lot of reasons—security, maintenance, costs,” Basch said. “There’s money and politics.”

Basch and his group have brought up the idea of portable toilets on Center Boulevard, but the same issues of funding and maintenance remain.

O’Leary also told the city that a lack of additional restrooms at the park will be an issue. “I think it’s going to be a problem this summer, and it’s just going to get worse as more people move into the neighborhood.”

He also suggests a temporary solution as park-goers wait for the restrooms at parcel G to come about.

Some park-goers told the LIC Post that restrooms aren’t an issue, given how close their homes are in case of an emergency, and the fact that public restrooms are hard to come by overall in the city.

Others residents, however say the lack of additional restrooms will especially impact women and children, who often bear the brunt of long lines and too few stalls.

Lynn Rabinovici Park, a Hunters Point resident for about four years, was shocked to learn that more restrooms wouldn’t be available once the second half of the park opens.

“There needs to be far more restrooms, definitely,” she told the LIC Post as she played with her children at the Oval. She added that the restrooms often lack toilet paper, and need more baby changing stalls. “That whole thing [the maintenance facility behind the bathrooms] should be restrooms.”

Hunters Point South Park on a busy day (via NYC Parks)

Kadie Black, a Hunters Point resident and board chair of the Gantry Parent Association, said the city leaving out additional restrooms for the new park’s opening is a lapse in judgement.

“I think the fact that they left out the bathroom is an oversight,” she said. “In the interim, there needs to be a short term solution available to everybody, but especially families, to assure that young children have a clean bathroom to use when they need to go.”

Black added: “If you’re going to build something, you want to build it right from the beginning. Why would you expand the park without ensuring basic amenities like a bathroom are in place?”

 

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33 Comments

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LIC gal

My friend said she saw a guy poop in the park! So yes, there needs to be public restrooms soon.

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Skip Seglipse

Have any of you crybabies ever been to Astoria park? A park that’s jam packed with people on weekends and has atrocious bathroom facilities? I guess all this “new money” can’t be inconvenienced to go back upstairs to their fancy apartments to use their own bathrooms.

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MRLic

Tsk tsk, reading comprehension not your strong point. There are visitors to the park who don’t live in LIC, or people who walk over from Court Square.

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LICfly

Wait, there’s a bathroom there?! Ugh! Time to rip off these soggy adult diapers, no more trips to CVS!

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Mythoughts

Ok yes we will need a bathroom. That said the City and the EDC deserve some props for turning an industrial wasteland into a gorgeous park in record time and prioritizing the opening of the park before the other Phase II developments, and opening yet another ferry line between LIC and LES this summer. So yes bathrooms but in the meantime thanks EDC for expanding this beautiful park!

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Felipe Anchorena Menocal

Lack of toilets: another example of the top-down planning of the EDC and Dept. of City Planning. Paying attention to residents’ recommendations during public hearings is superficial at best and ignored in practice. Expecting the City to provide adequate services is dependent upon funding, and let us not forget that most all new construction in LIC is under 421-a legislation that exempts the building from paying real estate taxes for 15 – 35 years [more toward the latter figure than the former]. As this tax base continues to shrink and the number of inhabitants increases, the realistic outcome is what we currently experience. Don’t like it? Move elsewhere or become involved with one or more of the local civic associations advocating for the area. Strength in numbers, especially if voters!

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Anonymous

On the bright side if people resort to urinating in the bushes the stench would be overpowered by the k9 waste so you’ll hardly notice.

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D.

It would be a start if there was no alcohol service in our NY City Park. Coffeed–the parks Department concession at the ferry landing, sells gallon of beer and wine, including jugs of sangria, and the music never stops. Loudspeakers are posted at the corners of the concession building, and blare morning through night. Vermin proliferate because the food sold gets dropped to wooden planked flooring never built as a large outdoor restaurant. The concession has expanded tables and benches where none were originally designed–it was apparently made as a stage area for parkgoers to view plays, small concerts.
NY State park (north portion of the park) are prohibited from drinking alcohol, playing a radio or loud music, smoking, etc., on park land. The City? We give a sweetheart deal to the concession with the loudest music and most alcohol sales. Weird.
Two: let’s work to give the 108th Precinct an annex or rebuild and add police to our precinct. Let’s keep this a safe and secure neighborhood.
Councilman Van Bramer invited parolees to the neighborhood to work at legit cleanup jobs; that may have boomeranged.

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SBenson

Another embarrassing “oops.” It’s almost inconceivable (I said almost) that these things aren’t taken into account during planning, budgeting and approval stages. Like building an expressway with on ramps but no off ramps. Is this property a city park or a state park? Has Van Bramer’s office weighed in on this?

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JM

Some vermin treatment wouldn’t go amiss either. You can sit at the tables along the river beside the cafe and watch the utterly fearless rats coming out from under the benches and plant boxes to feast on the food scraps the minute the sun goes down. They happily go about their business mere feet away from people, even climbing up over the tables.

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Jason

Wish more people would become aware of the quality of life issues here in LIC. Stop putting on blinders and speak up about the issues in LIC! Don’t be complacent and allow these issues to destroy our neighborhood. Litter, Drugs, Parking, public urination, smoking and alcohol consumption in city parks, so many NY City Park rules are being broke in the Parks and nothing is done about it. Can the 108 please do something about cleaning up the Vernon Mall and stop allowing what goes on there on a daily. Maybe the 108 can patrol the neighborhood to see what goes on, it would be nice to know they are vested and care about the neighborhood and its residents.

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Anonymous

according to the mayor you are allowed to poop and piss in the street and you can’t get arrested — read up on this – cops can’t do anything at all –

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Skip Seglipse

A pointless argument by a moron. What’s the point of clogging up the justice system with people for peeing in pubic? There’s still a fine, and besides this has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

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Anonymous

I think people are aware of the quality of life issues you are talking about, and not at all happy about it. The problem is that the city relies on a culture of learned helplessness. Officials are aware that it is impossible with the levels of funding and staffing to make the city as clean, orderly and safe as people want. So they slow walk everything, throw out the excuses and let problems fester. Eventually, people give up complaining. That’s what’s happened here in LIC for many years. The solution is for individuals, business owners and community groups to organize among themselves and clean up the place. For instance, I see trash blowing around in front of the restaurants and delis all over the area, and rarely see an employee sweep the sidewalks. Construction sites allow dirt to pile up and blow everywhere. Why is that? You have a better chance of getting them to do it than expect the lazy bums at the 108th to lift a fat finger to do anything. That’s not how they do business in the NYPD.

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brooklynmc

Definitely need bathrooms. I can hold it but my kids can’t. Try standing in line with a kid who has to pee in a long line with no shade in August. The problem is, the cost for a union job would be astronomical. If Trump wants to shake things up, take on the mob, I mean unions. Vote me down union people. I am not running for office.

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Anonymous

Too bad you’re not running for office. You’d clean up the lame suburban Dad vote

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Anonymous

Don’t you live right near the park? You can just pee before you leave the house or walk home and do it there. Or go to a restaurant, order a coffee and pee there. Why is everything always just a big deal for new residents in New York? I’ve lived here my entire life and I’ve maybe used a public restroom a few times. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be more rest rooms — of course, there should if the park expects people from outside the neighborhood to go kayaking or lounging around all day. But people can also be more resourceful and not always expect someone to wipe your butts for you and cater to every single need.

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Marie Hanlon

Portable toilets on Center Boulevard?? How aesthetically pleasing. Do they have in mind ones similar to those used on the street at LIC Flea Market? I attended the meeting last evening and the EDC representative had very few answers on safety, security, lighting, sanitation and many other concerns. Living at Grand Zero for the park, 1-55 Borden, many park visitors ask to use our restrooms, particularly after 10 p.m. when the park restrooms are locked. Young people who have had too much to drink often become sick at our entrance. Our building maintenance staff needs to clean-up after these park visitors in addition to their already busy work schedules. In my opinion, the restrooms should be located in the park, not on Center Boulevard. We have enough sidewalk space taken up with Citibikes and street space used for food and ice cream trucks. I’m glad to see LIC Post address this concern. Thank you.

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Anonymous

The city or state should handle this. BUT, in the meantime, are there coin operated portable toilets ? People would definitely pay a quarter, even a dollar, to use one. How much does it cost to maintain them? Seems like a good amount of money would be collected & should cover it. Can’ t one of the Associations listef above rent a few, like people do for outdoor events? Please do, if possible. Let us know where we can make a contribution for this. Btw, any progress w the shade space for the playground area? Keep on keeping on..

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brooklynmc

I feel like the lazy park employees who drive around in their carts and apparently spend much of their day texting, can handle the extra work the way most of us do. Suck it up and work harder.

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Marie Hanlon

There isn’t a restroom at the library at Court Square. You have to use the facilities at the pizza shop. I was astonished–who builds a library without a rest room? Even just one.

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Matt

Please reach out to Queens Library President Dennis Walcott and let him know how you feel about the lack of bathrooms. The library employees wish there was one too but they have no decision making power! [email protected]

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Bad Morning Bad Morning

Can we do something about the Good Morning Good Morning guy at the Subway? Spit everywhere. Numerous eyewitness accounts of public urination and defecation. He’s gotta go.

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Jason

I’ve made complaints about the Vernon Mall bcause of the people who hang out there drinking and smoking and also urinating. Where’s the quality of life? Plus all the empty liqueur bottles throw in the curb. They come from the Homless Veterans center on Borden Ave. and it’s a disgrace nobody want to address the issue.

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Anonymous

call counsel person Mr. JVB will help you out — good luck with that – this is his
district –

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GP

That guy is extremely annoying. Also, he blocks the flow of people entering the subway at rush hour. He’s gotta go.

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Good Morning Remix

His health is really declining. It used to be “Good morning sumthin to eat, good morning sumthin to eat”, which was catchy. You could see it being used in a techno remix. Now, just “good morning, good morning”.

Gotta love the guy trying to collect money on the Queens bound side of the 7 in the early evening picking up the rush hour crowd in the station and upstreaming Good mornin guy.

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LICfly

Gotta love the hustle.. how else do you think he can afford to live in LIC?! Also let’s not forget him and his pals keeping watch over Vernon mall. Have you seem any BK hipsters there? Didn’t think so. Well done my man, well done indeed. Keep up the good work!

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