While they do not know who is trashing their neighborhood, some residents of Jamaica, Queens want the Port Authority to clean up a popular illegal dumping site by the Van Wyck Expressway. Borough reporter Ruschell Boone filed the following exclusive report.
The wide open gates to a former Port Authority construction area in Jamaica, Queens have invited people looking to get rid of all kinds of trash and debris, from tires and closet doors, to cassette tapes and even a refrigerator.
The State Department of Transportation said the spot was a grassy area until about a decade ago when the Port Authority fenced it as a staging area during construction of the AirTrain above the Van Wyck Expressway.
The AirTrain has been running for years, but the fence remains.
DOT officials say while they are responsible for the property, the Port Authority was supposed to restore the area.
"It's a mess," said Jamaica resident Raynald Turner. "They just left the fencing and never came back for it. It looks like everything was kind of left behind."
Much of what was left behind has been vandalized, from the fence to concrete barriers. Then there is the ongoing illegal dumping, and residents say the site has been cleared out many times.
"I mean, you have people coming from all over the world that will ride this AirTrain down into Jamaica or people coming from the city going to the airport via the AirTrain and this just doesn't look good," said Community Board 12 member Tyquana Henderson.
NY1's Ruschell Boone was driving along the Van Wyck Expressway when she noticed the trash and graffiti. After speaking with residents about the issue, she called the local councilman, Ruben Wills.
"I have spoken to the sanitation superintendent and he is on his way over here now to assess this and make sure we get it cleaned up," Wills told NY1.
Department of Sanitation officials said it will be cleaned, so Boone turned her focus on the Port Authority.
An agency spokesperson told NY1, “The Port Authority returned this parcel to the New York State DOT for its use after completing the JFK AirTrain project. If they believe the Port Authority has remaining responsibilities at that site from 2003 they should let us know and we will address it.”
DOT officials said they are discussing the issue with the Port Authority.
Jamaica residents said they are not looking to assign blame; they just want this obvious blight gone.