UPPER WEST SIDE — A day after tens of thousands of New Yorkers flocked to the Hudson River to watch Macy's 35th annual Fourth of July fireworks show, dozens of trash cans in Riverside Park baked in the mid-90 degree heat of the day, overflowing with trash.
Riverside Park Administrator John Herrold, also the president of the Riverside Parks Fund, said his staff worked late into the night and came in early in the morning to help remove the trash.
"It is not uncommon to haul out close to 100 tons of trash on the Fourth of July," he said, adding that one of his staff members stayed in the park working all night and passed out over 600 garbage bags over the course of the festivities.
"The volume of trash is just tremendous." said Herrold. "The public can help us by using a carry-in, carry-out policy or by at least putting their trash in a bag and not throwing it on the ground."
Swarms of flies circled the trash heaps, as used food containers and sticky bottles became a potential feast for raccoons or rats. By 3:45 p.m., the pile outside Dinosaur Playground, just inside the park at 96th Street and West End, turned the stomachs of passerby.
"It doesn't look great," said Jonathan Girling, who was walking his chocolate lab, Maud, and tossed a doggie cleanup bag into the heap. "They're obviously not picking it up."
"[Maud] loves it though," said Girling as his dog stopped to sniff some trash.
The Parks Department did not respond to inquiries into when the remaining trash would be removed from the park.
Other passersby were perplexed as to what to do with their trash, not wanting to add to the problem.
"I'm disgusted," said Tamar T. , who held on to her plastic bag, "I don't get why people are throwing their trash onto the ground. There's nowhere to put my stuff."
The trash comes as Upper West Side parents have expressed growing concern about the presence of raccoons in the parks, dangerously close to playgrounds and in some cases playing on the playground equipment.
There were several raccoon sightings in June at the Rudin Playground near Central Park West and 96th Street and at Adventure Playground at Central Park West and 67th Street, according to West Side Rag.