A sunny afternoon in August should be prime time for parkgoers to use Ferry Point Park in Throggs Neck, but on Thursday, August 10, visitors were few and far between.
That could be due, at least in part, to the lack of adequate restrooms.
Local residents were thrilled when the NYC Parks Department announced a new comfort facility would be built in the park last year.
That facility, located near the picnic table area, is expected to be completed this month.
Unfortunately, the actual plumbing and electrical work for the facility are not.
“The building’s shell is scheduled for completion this summer and is on schedule,” said a Parks Department spokesperson. “The comfort station will be completed in its entirety (including plumbing, electric and mechanical) by the end of this year.”
The spokesman cited Wick’s Law, which requires separate bid contracts for construction, electrical, HVAC and plumbing on publicly funded projects over $3 million, for the delay.
The project was green lighted a decade ago and was partly funded by $2 million from the Croton Filtration Plant Mitigation Funds.
The few park visitors on Thursday, August 10 said they did not realize the half-shell structure being erected would eventually be a restroom facility.
“I thought it was a stage,” said Bhojkumar Singh, a Bronx resident jogging through the park.
Singh said the bathrooms would be welcome, since he avoids the portable toilets.
When asked if anything else in the park needed work, he pointed to the foot-high weeds that had taken over many of the playing fields.
“That grass is a little high,” he said, laughing.
But those that were there to picnic with their families like Bronx resident Stephanie Lopez said they were relieved to hear a restroom was being built.
“It’s great because I walk to those (portables) and I just used them and I do not feel comfortable in there at all. It’s gross. The fact that we have to walk from where we are, it’s a trip, especially for the kids.”
Angie Rivera, another picnicker at the park with a family, agreed.
“It’s a great idea because it’s a huge park and you definitely need facilities, and those porta-potties are not it,” Rivera said.
Friends of Ferry Point Park Dorothy Poggi had lobbied for the new restroom facility for years.
She said she did not know how close the structure was to completion, but stressed that the park is used heavily on weekends by soccer and cricket teams, which play on fields on the far eastern side of the park.
Poggi said players and their families often resort to relieving themselves in nearby wooded areas rather than walk to the parking lot where the portable toilets have been installed.
Despite heavy use, there are no plans to renovate the aging and rusting athletic facilities at the site, but the Parks Department has proposed converting 20 acres of parkland adjacent to the Trump Links at Ferry Point golf course to passive parkland that highlights its tidal wetlands.
A competing plan by the Trump Organization to use the land to expand its 18-hole course was rejected last year by the city.