NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One of Brooklyn’s largest green spaces looked like a wasteland on Monday.
Visitors to Prospect Park were outraged to find garbage littered in an open field, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.READ MORE: New Jersey Artist Said Elatab Burns Paintings To Fight Depression, Express Grief; 'I Call Myself Tragedy Of Art'
“Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like a dumpster pulled up and dumped things in the park. It’s crazy,” Prospect Lefferts Park resident Cynthia Nelson said.
Nelson’s daily walk with her dog, “Sugar,” was spoiled by the mess on the lawn in the Nethermead area, which included countless discarded beer bottles, liquor bottles, paper bags, and containers of food.
- Tri-State Coronavirus Travel Advisory Quarantine List
- Resources, Hotlines, Unemployment & Covering Bills
- Remote Learning Tools For Parents Teaching At Home
- CBS2’s Dr. Max Answers Your Health Questions
- What To Do If Someone Isn’t Social Distancing Or Wearing A Mask?
- Expert: Parents Be Mindful Of Children’s Stress After Months Of Isolation
- Chopper 2 Over Empty NYC Streets, Landmarks
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
There were the kind of unsanitary conditions you’d expect to see after a huge concert or festival, not from a get-together at a popular community park. The city Parks Department said the mess was the result of an illegal party on Sunday night. The Nethermead area is normally a hot spot for parties and picnics.
Video of the party sent to CBS2 by a viewer shows a lack of social distancing and he said many people were not wearing masks.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Parks Department said it wasn’t alerted to this issue until Monday morning. A spokesperson said in a time of COVID-19 and significant budget cuts, including the loss of 1,700 seasonal staff members this summer, illegal gatherings are causing major safety challenges.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Accuses Gov. Cuomo And MTA Of 'Fear Mongering,' Insists Subways Are Safe
Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher said his bare-bones staff worked for hours Monday cleaning up the mess.
“They’re not wearing the mask. They’re not maintaining social distance. That puts people in jeopardy. But then they’re not cleaning up, so there’s litter everywhere. They’re not even making an effort to bag it and bring it to the road or where the receptacles are, so that just makes the park worse for everybody,” Maher said.
The overall message from officials is to respect the green spaces in the city, especially during a pandemic. They are true gems in the city, some of the few places where people can gather safely right now.
“People that find out about illegal parties shouldn’t attend them,” Maher said. “We also ask the people take the garbage with you. Bring it out to the road. Bring it out to a receptacle. We’ll collect it. We’ll pick it up. Don’t leave it all over the field. That’s just not right.”
“Your mom doesn’t work here. She’s not coming to pick it up,” Nelson added.
Officials urge if you do witness illegal gatherings or people leaving a mess behind, please call 311.MORE NEWS: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.