Photo of the damage by Yana Zhuravel, whose grandmother's tombstone is on the bottom right.
The bill to taxpayers from the city’s botched blizzard response continues to go up, with the government being prodded to cover the cost of Washington Cemetery gravestones toppled during snow removal.
Since Sheepshead Bites broke the story yesterday, local leaders are rushing to criticize the Sanitation Department, which piled mountains of snow against a fence bordering the largest Jewish cemetery in New York City. The fence collapsed, causing about 30 headstones to topple.
Local Councilman Michael Nelson, chairman of the Jewish Caucus, blasted the agency yesterday evening, demanding an immediate investigation and monetary relief for the families of the deceased.
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In response to our story about the Sanitation Department toppling gravestones at Washington Cemetery, the agency issued the following statement:
Unfortunately, during ongoing emergency snow clearing operations outside of the cemetery, the fence along the cemetery collapsed due to piled snow. The Department is reaching out to cemetery officials to provide them with the necessary paperwork to file a claim.
Apparently they intend to pay for the damages. Or at least allow people to ask for them to pay. Thanks guys!
Photo by Yana Zhuravel
When residents demanded that heads roll after the city’s shameful response to the blizzard cleanup, they didn’t mean headstones.
But that’s exactly what happened when Department of Sanitation workers packed load after load of snow and ice against the fence of Washington Cemetery on Bay Parkway, between McDonald Avenue and 57th Street. The metal gates buckled under the weight, toppling approximately 30 gravestones over the weekend.
“[Sanitation workers] were continually dumping snow there for several days,” said Washington Cemetery (5400 Bay Parkway) employee Mike Ciamaga, who added that cemetery officials first noticed the broken gravestones on Sunday morning. “As of this morning they were still dumping there.”
Keep reading about the Washington Cemetery accident, and how one family is reacting to the destruction.