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Part of Forest Hills Park Left in Darkness Putting Locals at Risk, They Say

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 1, 2017 3:15pm | Updated on September 5, 2017 5:39am
 Several lights inside MacDonald Park in Forest Hills have been out since March, locals said.
Several lights inside MacDonald Park in Forest Hills have been out since March, locals said.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — Several lights at Forest Hills' MacDonald Park have been out for months, leaving a large portion of the green space in darkness, and putting public safety at risk, local residents said.

The 1.4-acre park, located at the intersection of Queens and Yellowstone boulevards, is a popular spot among local residents, who go there to relax and play chess.

But at least three lights near the park's circular seating area, as well as one sidewalk street light nearby, have been out since early March, locals said.

“It’s just so frustrating,” said Stephen Melnick, founder of the Friends of MacDonald Park, a group which holds community cleanups in the park several times a year.

Melnick said that since the lights have been out, his group found feces, a condom and plastic envelopes similar to the ones used to sell drugs in that area of the park. 

He also said that people drink alcohol there. “Because it’s dark there, they can get away with it,” he said, adding that he fears public safety is being put at risk.

The 112th Precinct, which covers the area, said that it has not recorded any criminal incidents in the park in the past few months.

But Melnick said he doesn’t want to wait “for something to happen.”

Michael Cohen, a spokesman for local Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, said that his office became aware of the issue about two weeks ago and has since reached out to Con Ed and the Parks Department about the issue.

A spokesman for Con Ed Thursday referred questions to the Parks Department, which in turn referred inquires to the Department of Transportation.

The DOT said Friday that it is working with Con Ed to determine next steps.

Con Ed did not immediately respond to a request for additional information Friday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the outage.

“It shouldn’t take six months to fix those lights,” Melnick said.