FLUSHING — A fetid pond in Bowne Park filled with toxic algae is ruining the popular Queens green space, parkgoers say.
The city Parks Department slapped “Algae Bloom Advisory” signs onto Bowne Park fences after the state Department of Environmental Conservation detected blue-green algae there in late June. The bacteria is dangerous to people and pets, and fish don't like it, either.
“All of the wildlife in the water is going to suffocate from being under the slime,” said Susan Bosco, 74 of Flushing, who lives about 10 blocks from the park. “It’s filthy. People throw junk in there [and] bacteria grows.”
The algae also emits a foul odor.
Fahmida Habib, 46, a mother of two, said she was disappointed that her children couldn't pet the turtles because of the pond's murky conditions.
“It was nice and beautiful on the internet,” said Habib, of Astoria, who paid a $35 cab fare for her children to have a play date at the pond.
Credit: NYC Parks Department
Longtime residents say the park was not always dirty. Over the years, residents have noticed plastic water bottles, gloves, candy wrappers and other trash accumulate along the shoreline.
“You got to throw the fish back when you catch them,” said Sal Rosslli, 65, a retired construction worker, who said the current pond is not clean enough for fishing. “Years ago, it was different. It wasn’t like this.”
The pond experiences dense algae bloom in the summer, resulting in an “unpleasant" appearance and odor, according to a letter to Hilary Semel, director of the Mayor’s Office for Environmental Coordination, from Colleen Alderson, chief of Parklands and Real Estate for the Parks Department.
All that may change soon, as the Parks Department is looking to clean the water with a $1.45 million grant from the City Council grant. The project includes repairing the on-site well, installing a filtration system, replacing damaged pipes, installing a bioswale that removes pollutants from run-off water and adding a new hydrant to support maintenance.
The project's design was to be completed last August, according to the department's website, but an adjusted date says the project is still in the design phase.
In the meantime, the Park's Department urges parkgoers to follow park guidelines, including no wading near the pond, fishing or allowing pets to drink the water, which is contaminated with toxins.
The Parks Department said it will be looking to find someone to perform the work next month.