Some Throggs Neck tree pits remain unkempt despite merchant efforts

An neglected treepit on East Tremont Avenue near Lafayette Avenue is one of several on the Throggs Neck commercial shopping strip.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

After a massive cleanup last year, it appears that there is more to be done to keep tree pits in Throggs Neck’s commercial corridor clear of debris.

Even after the Throggs Neck Merchants Association completed a cleanup of tree pits along the main thoroughfare in the fall of 2015, some of the pits remain stubbornly overgrown with weeds and prone to litter accumulation residents said.

John Marano, a community activist who was involved in last year’s cleanup, said that some pits have reverted back to their previous state of neglect.

TNMA president, Steven Kaufman, said that the cleanup included many volunteers over several weekends in September and October 2015 and consumed over 100 bags of mulch and probably over 20 hours. He said that some tree pits required more than five bags of mulch.

Marano is calling on the TNMA’s merchants and urging them to clean the pits in front of their stores.

He recalled that he and his brothers were required by his parents to sweep up in front of his family’s bakery on East Tremont Avenue when he was growing up.

“I think some merchants on the commercial strip should take a little more pride in the front of their stores,” said Marano, adding that on occasion, he has heard merchants say that the debris and weeds in the pits is not their responsibility.

“But then again,” he said. “It is in front of their store, so if they clean the pits, it will make their store look better.”

Councilman James Vacca said that cleaning tree pits is the responsibility of the property owner, and he said he did notice a lack of uniformity in maintenance of tree pits along East Tremont Avenue.

“I am supportive of the creation of a Throggs Neck Business Improvement District, and if there was a BID there, there would be someone administrating, and then we would have (regular) cleanup of tree pits,” said Vacca.

The councilman said that if a tree pit is unkempt, the city could issue a summons, but the councilman believes that a more effective approach would be to have the TNMA contact individual merchants and let them know that in the interest of neighborliness it would be in the best if the nearby storekeepers cleaned the pits, whether they were legally required to or not.

The TNMA hopes to go out again sometime soon to correct the problem, according to the group’s president.

“We speak to the merchants and encourage them to clean up and maintain them,” said Kaufman. “With a lot of tree pits, the abutting landowner may not be a merchant.”

The merchant association president added that some people are more attentive of the pits than others.

Marano said that certain tree pits on East Tremont Avenue near Lafayette Avenue, are overgrown.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
A tree pit with overgrown weeds on East Tremont Avenue is just one of several examples of sites requiring maintenance.
Photo courtesy of John Marano

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