The blizzard may be long over but the damage and bad PR keeps on coming. Ned Berke at Sheepshead Bites brings to our attention the matter of dozens of gravestones that were toppled in Brooklyn, after a snow-packed cemetery fence gave way. Locals say sanitation workers are to blame.
From his blog post:
...Department of Sanitation workers packed load after load of snow and ice against the fence of Washington Cemetery on Bay Parkway, between McDonald Avenue and 57th Street. The metal gates buckled under the weight, toppling approximately 30 gravestone over the weekend.
“[Sanitation workers] were continually dumping snow there for several days,” said Washington Cemetery (5400 Bay Parkway) employee Mike Ciamaga, who added that cemetery officials first noticed the broken gravestones on Sunday morning. ”As of this morning they were still dumping there.”
When reached by phone at his district office, Councilman David Greenfield referred to Washington Cemetery as the largest Jewish cemetery in New York City. He noted the incident follows another one in December, in which as many as 200 headstones were toppled or vandalized, including some belonging to Holocaust survivors.
This episode, he said, fit a larger pattern in which residents of southern Brooklyn were treated as "second-class citizens" after the blizzard, and faulted the Sanitation Department for not bringing the matter to the attention of those affected.
"That we have to find out about it from a reporter, it’s very hurtful," said Greenfield, who said he was headed out the door to inspect the site. "It’s quite shocking that (the families) weren’t informed about it, either."
In response, Sanitation Department spokesman Matt Lipani sent us the following statement.
"Unfortunately, during ongoing emergency snow clearing operations outside of the cemetery, the fence along the cemetery collapsed due to piled snow. The Department is reaching out to cemetery officials to provide them with the necessary paperwork to file a claim."