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March 16, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Prospect Park ‘residents’ evicted — and their shanty is destroyed

The Brooklyn Paper
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Parks officers booted a homeless man from his elaborate, six-foot-tall house of twigs inside Prospect Park, then tore it down after neighbors complained about the existance of the shanty.

The shack — which was big enough to sleep three men and looked plucked from the movie “Cast Away” — stood next to the lake in Prospect Park near the Vanderbilt Street entrance for months. Inside was bedding; outside a small shovel and a tarp.

On Tuesday morning, three police officers stormed the encampment, only to discover its occupants had already left for the morning. Afterward, four parks officers pulled up in green trucks and workers began to rip it down.

“It was incredible,” said park watchdog Ed Bahlman, who discovered the shelter. “It was a big deal; the whole [parks] crew was there.”

It’s not the first time Prospect Park has doubled as a mini-lakeside campground for the homeless. In July, 2008, a city employee discovered the three-day-old corpse of a murdered homeless man near Lookout Hill, along with encampments strewn around the southwest side of the lake.

Nor is it the only time park-goers have demanded that the Prospect Park Alliance, which partners with the city, better maintain, enforce and respond to eyesores, such as animal corpses, and more conventional garbage.

If this case is any indication, the Alliance — which is now under the leadership of Emily Lloyd, who took over from longtime honcha Tupper Thomas this year — is starting to respond more swiftly: The shack was reported on Sunday; its residents booted on Monday; the structure disassembled on Tuesday.

Alliance spokeswoman Vickie Karp said that the park is, by no means, overrun by the homeless.

“People who have nowhere to go tend to end up in parks, and when that happens, we work with homeless services to take steps to address it,” she said.

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Reader Feedback

al pankin from downtown says:
good riddence...the real question is what toook so long for the squatter's shack to get thrown down? how long was it there?
March 16, 2011, 6:15 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Hey Emily aka Solomon Grundy, what is the plan today (Wed.)?
March 16, 2011, 10:54 am
Winston Smith from Poop Slolpe says:
So the wild dogs can stay and this poor guy can't.
March 16, 2011, 5:37 pm
V from Kensington says:
Kind of sad, obviously he put in a lot of effort for this, you can't just build with any twigs, he had to really hunt the part for this. Leave the guy alone or I hope he is placed in a homeless shelter and gets some help
March 16, 2011, 6:02 pm
joe from wb says:
how dare someone live in ny for free!? tear it down! this park is for people who pay taxes! lame...
March 16, 2011, 6:23 pm
Chris from Windsor Terrace says:
I still read and interpret a disconnect from the Alliance spokeswoman.
The park is not patrolled as a priority and enforcement is not done with any sense of care for the park.
To be able to build and maintain a structure like the one pictured must have taken at least three people working together.
March 17, 2011, 8:53 am
John from Park Slope says:
Prospect Park is turning into a campground and it is not even spring.
It is easy for the Alliance to make sweeping statements when they do not care if they are based on facts.
March 17, 2011, 10:27 am
Kim from Windsor Terrace says:
To pretend that the Prospect Park Alliance is aware and on top of every concern that the Brooklyn Paper writes about is ludicrous. We who come to the park know this is not true. The swift response on this occasion is probably because a reliable and known park-goer became involved.
Credibility needs to be a two-way street and the Alliance has to learn from those who walk the park with their eyes open and show they care.
March 17, 2011, 11:54 am
Michael/Joan from Park Slope says:
We do not want the smell of urine and worse wafting through the park air like it did last year.
The lakeside is filthy and has been left to fall apart because of the lack of care by park officials. The poor priorities are evident to anyone who comes to Prospect Park.
March 18, 2011, 7:29 am
Harrison from Park Slope says:
We don't need to wait for Prospect Park to be overrun by the homeless for park officials to act, do we?
March 18, 2011, 1:30 pm
Richard from Windsor Terrace says:
No meaningful enforcement of any kind in Prospect Park begets a lake environment that has been abandoned to the animal abusers, irresponsible fishing, illegal off-leash dogs and their owners who do not clean up, illegal dumping, last and not least, the homeless.

We want enforcement on these issues now.

You are responsible for making sure visitors do not constantly encounter these abuses unchecked.
March 19, 2011, 12:22 pm
Jonathan from Park Slope says:
Prospect Park is a park not friendly to families with small children. We do not like the atmosphere with the out of control dogs running loose and fighting. Their owners act oblivious to the harm their dogs do digging up holes and urinating on fallen branches and tree trunks.
It is disgusting and true, the park has been turned over to the abusers who have no fear of being caught.
March 19, 2011, 1:40 pm
Gretchen from Park Slope says:
There should be a warning sign to never go in the woodlands alone or with children. It IS a downright shame that the park spokesperson doesn't know or care about what is going on in Prospect Park.

How callous she is and uniformed.
March 19, 2011, 2:26 pm
Wallace from Park Slope says:
My family doesn't understand how a NYC featured park can be in such disrepair. We wonder if anyone who works for the Alliance uses the park for recreation.
March 19, 2011, 3:47 pm
Robert from Windsor Terrace says:
The lakeside and woodlands are used as toilets by not only the homeless. Irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs run free with no control do serious damage to these locations year round.
March 20, 2011, 12:36 pm
Cyrus from Park Slope says:
I love Prospect Park. It's why I live in Park Slope. I've passed by the shack before and it's never bothered me. It's actually very impressive. I hope the man who built it was given help.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the condoms. After living in Park Slope for 9 years I've never been able to go for a stroll on a trail without seeing at least 1 used condom on the ground. It's sad that it doesn't even disturb me anymore.
April 14, 2011, 12:37 pm

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