City Worker Overcome By “Fecal Fumes” at Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Photo: A Walk in the Park Blog.

Photo: A Walk in the Park Blog.
Photo: A Walk in the Park Blog.

A New York City Parks Department worker was “overcome be fecal fumes” at Sara D. Roosevelt Park this week and hospitalized after experiencing nausea and dizziness. The story was first reported by the blog, A Walk in the Park.

More details:

Daniel Roca, 54, arrived at work for his 8 a.m. shift (Monday) but before he even got past the second set of doors into the building he was confronted by a putrid smell. The building’s basement had been flooded with fecal matter after the adjacent public bathroom was clogged. A hoodie and other items were found jammed into the toilet which caused the plumbing to back up into the building. “It smelled so strong.   I was gagging, ” the worker said. Roca said he threw up in the street from the stench while out getting masks.
Park workers told the blog that the bathrooms, located in a building on Broome Street, had been left open overnight on several occasions. One worker said, “junkies stuff rags, shirts and newspapers down the toilet… There’s no toilet paper, the homeless and junkies steal it.” The worker pointed out that bathrooms uptown in Central Park and Bryant Park are taken care of by maintenance staff. A parks department spokesperson told Gothamist, “NYC Parks has already begun undertaking necessary improvements to the facility, including a thorough cleaning and plumbing repairs.” The spokesperson acknowledged that Rocca was hospitalized but said it’s a leap to assume his illness was caused by the fecal fumes.

UPDATE 9:52 a.m. From K Webster of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition:
We have a homeless epidemic in New York City, especially in this neighborhood. People are disturbed or addicted or simply have nowhere else to use a toilet, so they wind up using the park flower beds or (if the bathrooms are left open with no supervision) this is what happens. Parks are underfunded. They are left to volunteers and sparse staff to take care of. Every park bathroom needs an entry through a staffed building with one dedicated, paid, trained staff member hired to supervise them, and staff dedicated to each and every bathrooms’ maintenance. At least one bathroom should be available 24/7 (that particular building is the fire alarm station for the entire city, so it is staffed 24/7). The Stanton Street building, funded by the offices of Council Member Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a $1 million renovation, needs to be returned to the community.  A not-for-profit organization should be programming it so the public (even those without homes) will have access to bathrooms.