NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s been more than three years since Superstorm Sandy battered the Tri-State area, but some residents say they’re still looking at storm damage.
Longtime neighbors in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn told CBS2’s Elise Finch they’re reminded of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation every day. All they have to do is look at the wrecked and overturned boats in the water near their homes.
“A lot of the boats capsized, the fuel, the oil, everything that was in the boats went into the waterway. They’ve just been sitting there decaying, which has got to be bad for the environment,” said Kurt Lombelino. “It’s sticking up out of the water like a sore thumb.”
Nate Grove, senior manager for marinas for New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said vessels that were destroyed or simply abandoned and posed environmental risks were identified and removed soon after the storm.
“Following Sandy we did the immediate removal of over a hundred boats through emergency contracts. Now we have a standing contract with an agreed upon price list,” said Grove. “It was bid through the Department of Citywide Administrative Services — DCAS — and parks (department) is the lead agency now because we have marine expertise.”
Grove said at the beginning of this year, there were 75 boats still littering New York City waterways. In the past four months, they’ve managed to remove nearly half, Finch reported.
Still, residents said they want to know what took so long.
“They see an abandoned car in the middle of the street do they leave it there? No, they get a tow truck and tow it away,” said Anthony Riccardelli. “Over there, they see an abandoned boat, tow it away and put it on the side or just tie it off somewhere. We’re not asking for the impossible.”
Grove blamed the delay on red tape and the lengthy process to get grant money.
“This is all funded through federal funding to the tune of about $2 million,” said Grove.
Residents in the area doubt boat cleanup is finally about to happen in their neighborhood. But the Parks Department said the 35 demolished boats in the waterway near their homes should be gone in 90 days.
The Parks Department said it expects to have all Sandy-damaged boats and debris removed from New York City’s waterways by the end of next year.