Wednesday, August 8, 2012

6th Person Stuck By Hypodermic Needle - Boy 11

By Geoffrey Croft

For the sixth time in four weeks, someone has been pricked by a hypodermic needle on a city beach, A Walk In the Park has learned, four of the incidents have occured in Staten Island.

The latest victim was an eleven year-old boy who was stabbed in the heel of his foot yesterday by a needle at South Beach on Staten Island. The incident occurred around 3:30 not far from the the Gazebo near the boardwalk.

On July 24th, a female lifeguard was stuck yesterday while on duty at Rockaway Beach. She stepped on a needle at 139th Street around 4:00 pm.

On July 24th, nine-year-old Gerard McManus was stabbed in the foot by a syringe while walking in the sand at 104th Street beach in the Rockaway Beach in Queens.

On July 16, a 63-year-old woman stepped on a hypodermic needle on Cedar Grove Beach and received a laceration to her foot. EMS transported the victim just before 1:00pm to Staten Island University Hospital North.

On Saturday, July 14, a 37-year-old was stabbed in his hand with a hypodermic needle while on the sand at South Beach - Father Capodanno Boulevard & Sand Lane just before 7:30pm. EMS transported him to Staten Island University Hospital North.

On July 4, a 40-year-old male was also stuck by a needle at South Beach. The incident occurred just before 9:00pm. He was transported by EMS to Staten Island University Hospital North.

"It's a bay, we're not on an ocean, " a parks employee who requested anonymity said a few weeks ago speaking about the occurrences on Staten Island.

"This happens all the time. People dump stuff and it washes up here. You have to be careful. The public should be warned."

Responding to our report two weeks the Parks Department told numerous media that the agency cleans the beaches daily. They told one media outlet, "but that strict budgets only allow for so much sand maintenance."

This prompted City Council Parks Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito to fire off a letter (see below) to Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe pointing out that the City Council restored the full amount the agency requested - $31 million to the Fiscal Year 2013 Parks Department budget.

The Parks Department routinely submits budgets that represent a fraction of the funds it needs.

The agency also issued the standard, "our beaches have never been cleaner," statement and that they "typically have a few incidents like this every year.”

A few years ago after a spat of needle incidents a Parks Department press representative said, "this is a very unusual occurrence."

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - July 26, 2012

A Walk In The Park - July 26, 2012 - By Geoffrey Croft

July 26, 2012

Hon. Adrian Benepe


New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

The Arsenal, Central Park

New York, NY 10021

Dear Commissioner Benepe,

Recent news reports have indicated that there have been at least four instances in the past three weeks where beachgoers and lifeguards have been injured by syringes found lying in the sand. It is unacceptable that the individuals and families that recreate on City beaches should be exposed to these kinds of health hazards.

The Council has worked very hard throughout the last few budget cycles to ensure that beach and park maintenance programs were fully funded. Most recently, we restored $31 million to the Fiscal Year 2013 Parks Department budget—the full amount that was requested by the Parks Department—so it is troubling to see that despite our efforts the Parks Department is citing its budget as a contributing factor in these incidents.

My colleagues and I at the Council expect the Parks Department to take immediate steps to ensure that syringes and other health hazards are removed from City beaches. We look forward to hearing what the Department’s response will be to this situation.


Melissa Mark-Viverito

Chair, Committee on Parks and Recreation

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