The homeless desecrate monument in Greenpoint

Local residents of Greenpoint complain that homeless people are using an area around the monument of a famous anti-Communist fighter, priest Jerzy Popielszko, as their bathroom. The problem in McCarren Park has raised a lot of controversy among the residents of the Polish neighborhood.

The monument is located in a square named after the Polish priest which is often visited by local Polish-Americans. They like to come there and spend time in peace and prayer, paying tribute to the hero priest. They find it hard to focus on prayer when the area looks filthy and smells of excrement. According to some of the Nowy Dziennik’s readers, apart from dirtying the area, the homeless also curse and act in a way that they consider unacceptable.

The problem has grown worse in recent days. “That’s scandalous what is happening there,” said one of the visitors to McCarren Park, requesting anonymity. “The police are now closing the park after dusk and throw out the homeless before the night, but somebody should take interest in what they do there during the day,” he added.

“They do everything there and nobody can do anything about it,” said a lady, who also wished not be identified. “They go to the bathroom wherever they please. One weekend I saw poop on the monument itself. There are even women in the group. They fight and then have sex on the lawn – in broad daylight. They have no shame,” said the woman, who owns a house near the park.

“When coming to close the park for the night, I used to always have a problem with having them leave the place,” says Jan, who took care of the park for five years. Each night he had to deal with a group of several dozen homeless people, who called him names and sometimes even threatened him with knives, says the man, who quit the job because of the threats.

When a Nowy Dziennik reporter went to the park a few days ago, a couple of homeless people were drinking alcohol at a park bench. Seeing a camera, some of them hid in the bushes, making it impossible to count them.

There are, however, members of the local community who defend the homeless. “I am actually not surprised that they have chosen this particular place. It is a fenced and quiet area. They go to the bathroom near the monument, because it is right near where they usually stay. The city should install bathrooms there,” says Andrzej, who walks his dog in the park.

In his opinion though, it is not only the homeless who make a mess in the park. “Every weekend there are volleyball games in the park, mainly for Latino groups,” says Andrzej, who lives near the park. “The police should do something about it and fine disorderly people. Otherwise the park will never be clean,” he added.

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