Greenfield Demands City Clean Up Snow Mess & Expedite Claims Of Damaged Graves At Washington Cemetery

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Brooklyn – Councilman David G. Greenfield is demanding that the city clean up the mess and expedite damage claims from the Department of Sanitation’s botched snow removal last month, which resulted in thousands of dollars in damage at Washington Cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in New York City.

Department of Sanitation employees and contractors recklessly piled snow as high as fifteen feet on Bay Parkway and along the sidewalks adjacent to Washington Cemetery. The massive mountains of snow subsequently collapsed over New Year’s weekend, toppling the perimeter fence of the cemetery and damaging dozens of headstones. The extent of the damage remains unknown as tons of snow still cover plots near the collapsed fence, unmoved by the Department of Sanitation and unable to be moved by the cemetery, which doesn’t have the equipment needed to facilitate snow removal of this magnitude.

“It’s shocking that more than one month later the City has done nothing to rectify this situation,” said Councilman Greenfield. “The Department of Sanitation admitted fault and the city must clean up their mess and ensure that claims by relatives of the deceased are processed as quickly as possible. It is unacceptable that these families must wait months while the final resting places of their loved ones remain desecrated.”

Greenfield fired off a letter today to the Comptroller of the City of New York, the New York City Law Department and the Department of Sanitation asking that the Department of Sanitation immediately remove the remaining snow so that the entirety of the damage may be assessed and anxious families notified. The letter also called on the Comptroller’s Office and Law Department to expedite resolution of claims related to the snow removal incident.

“I…implore your respective offices, to consider the tremendous emotional toll this [incident] has taken on these families and to work jointly to immediately pay their claims,” said Councilman Greenfield in his letter. “Considering that the Sanitation Department admitted fault a month ago, there is no reason for payment of the claims to be delayed.”

The damage caused by the city came on the heels of two separate incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism at Washington Cemetery at the beginning of December, resulting in damage to hundreds of headstones.

“I regret that these families have had to endure this emotional roller coaster,” noted Councilman Greenfield. “Aside from the tremendous expense of resetting or replacing the headstones, the emotional toll this has taken on these families is unthinkable. The City of New York must rectify this shocking wrong and spare the families affected any unnecessary delay in restoring the final resting places of their loved ones,” concluded Councilman Greenfield.

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