New York City’s parks department spent $188,000 to remove elevated public restrooms in Brighton Beach last month after condo owners complained they were blocking their view of the beach. Now some neighborhood activists complain that the de Blasio administration was pressured into making a financially irresponsible decision.
“This is a mess, and it just goes to show once again if you have access to City Hall you get preferential treatment,” Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, told the New York Daily News.
The bathrooms – elevated to protect them against flooding – were installed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and paid for by federal disaster relief funds. Residents of the neighboring Oceana condominium subsequently sued the city, arguing that the restrooms ruined their views of the beach and served as a haven for drug dealers. Local city council member Steven Cymbrowitz, who according to the Daily News received at least $3,700 in campaign donations from the condo building, opposed the bathrooms and lobbied Bill de Blasio to remove them.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much the bathrooms’ relocation will cost and who will pay for it. Park officials expect the designing of a new location to take about six months. [NYDN] – Konrad Putzier