On a quiet street in Edgemere, a city COVID testing site suddenly appeared early this month.
What You Need To Know:
- A Health and Hospitals COVID-19 testing location opened on a former vacant lot in Edgemere, a small community near Far Rockaway in Queens.
- Residents say 28 trailers, electric generators and stadium flood lights were hauled in, with no public notice.
- Edgemere has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the city.
According to Health and Hospitals, the site is expected to be operating for at least the next six months.
Residents say 28 trailers, electric generators and stadium flood lights were hauled in, with no public notice.
The site is now lit during the night, and garbage sometimes piles up.
Longtime resident Sonia Moise says it’s a real eyesore.
“It’s a slap in the face because we have so much vacant land here — they did not have to put it in our backyard,” said Moise.
Moise says residents are not opposed to a testing site — this community has one of the city's highest coronavirus death rates. But she says it is too little, too late.
“There are no more than 40 people per day. And this site operates 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday,” said Moise.
Most of the homeowners here are Black; some say the city's handling of the testing site fits a pattern of mistreatment and indifference that would not happen to a white community.
“I’m sick personally of the marginalization of minority communities. It’s time they give us the same respect they give up the beach,” said Jacqueline Rogers, an Edgemere resident.
Many of the residents bought their homes in the late 1990s under an urban renewal program. They say they were promised retail development, park space and schools but that the promises have gone largely unfulfilled. Until the trailers were brought in, the testing site, they say, had been vacant for 40 years.
“We can’t get anything in this community but we can get a COVID site in three weeks,” said Rogers.
Rogers says to add insult to injury, many in Edgemere are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. There are two abandoned homes across the street from the testing site and she says beach access is lacking compared to elsewhere on the peninsula. Rogers is concerned the trailers at this testing location are more permanent, compared to temporary tents elsewhere in the city. Now, she’s asking what happens once testing is complete.
“We have no idea. No one came to the community and said what it really is,” said Rogers.
A spokesman for NYC Health and Hospitals which runs the testing site says it worked with elected officials and neighbors to enhance testing in the area as the community was hard hit by the virus. He added as the city reopens, the agency is committed to working to ensure everyone has access to testing. The site is expected to be operating for at least another six months.