A Jackson Heights politician is fed-up with the foul fowl feces that shroud the face of the neighborhood’s premier subway station.
Councilmember Daniel Dromm says he is perturbed by the pigeon poop problem casting a shadow over the 74th Street station on Roosevelt Avenue, which hosts the No. 7, “E,” “F,” “R” and “M” trains.
“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has neglected its legal responsibility to clean the pigeon poop,” said the councilmember, who called the MTA’s behavior a disgrace. “We have complained about it and they still haven’t come out to clean it. They promised they would [on] Monday, November 28, but they didn’t. This is a serious case of neglect and abuse of the Jackson Heights community. They have been a bad neighbor. One has to wonder why they continue to ignore Jackson Heights when it is one of the busiest stations in the whole transit system.”
According to an MTA spokesperson, the authority is aware of the problem and examining a variety of different solutions, including placing jagged spikes on the structure, making it less conducive for squatting.
“There is no way for us to place nets above the area, and we are limited in what we can do to solve the pigeon problem, but we do try and clean the area regularly,” said the spokesperson. “We do clean it, but the pigeons come right back. This is one of the difficult situations that we don’t have a solution to. From what I’ve heard it is pretty awful. It is disgusting, but we do have a pigeon problem throughout the city and we try different things in different place. We will just have to keep trying until we find a solution.”
The station receives regular cleaning every other week, including on the night of the December 6, according to the spokesperson.
Dromm claims his constituents have “continuously complained about the lack of maintenance to the 74th Street station,” including the pigeon excrements covering it, garbage left on the sidewalks in front of it and vacant stores surrounding it. The councilmember also plans to test the paint chipping away from the subway tracks above Roosevelt Avenue for dangerous chemicals.
Dromm, who says he has attempted to attain a regular maintenance schedule for years, to no avail, believes the MTA’s negligence has also hurt the community financially.
“The MTA is the biggest impediment to economic development in Jackson Heights, because that station is the entrance to the neighborhood,” he said. “You have vacant stores around a pigeon poop covered, paint peeling and garbage strewn subway station. People come out from the subway, and the first thing they want to do is turn around and go home. [The pigeon poop] makes the entrance to Jackson Heights undesirable.”
During the daily bustle of rush hour, some Jackson Heights residents admit they don’t bother to look up and perceive the problem.
“I’ve never even noticed it before,” said one resident as he hurried to work.
Others agree with Dromm and believe the station has become a blight on the community.
“This is the MTA’s property, and they should clean it up,” said David Barrionuevo, who uses the 74th Street station daily. “It shows they don’t care. They probably took a lot of money from the city to build this, so the least they can do is upkeep. The pigeon poop gives the station a gritty look, and if you look at some of the other stations, especially some of the bigger ones, they look nicer than this. This station is relatively new also, which means the MTA hasn’t been taking care of it at all. It looks like there is years’ worth of [feces] here.”