Maspeth resident fumes over bioswale put in front of her home with no notice

Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS

This lady can’t seem to catch a break — unless it is in her sidewalk.

Jeanette Romano, a resident of Maspeth, is irate at the city for installing a bioswale in front of her home on 60th Drive, with absolutely no notification. Not only that, she says the workers left a mess and damaged her sidewalk.


A bioswale is a curbside garden designed to collect rainwater to prevent it from going into the already taxed sewer system, and sending combined sewer overflow (CSO) into Newtown Creek during periods of heavy rainfall.

Now, Romano is left with a gaping hole in her sidewalk until the city comes and finishes the job.

“They started installing [the bioswale] a few weeks ago and they never notified me that they were going to do that,” Romano said. “That’s going to be a garbage collector, that’s what that is going to be. Then who is going to clean it? The city is going to clean it, or we’re going to have to clean it, the owners of the two houses?”

Garbage has already begun to pile up inside the hole in front of her home. Besides the garbage, Romano found a yellow streak across her sidewalk that she says was created by the city employees while working on the bioswale.

This isn’t the first time that Romano has had problems with the city making changes to her sidewalk.

Several years ago, Romano said she and her husband received a notice from the city alerting them to cracks in their sidewalk, which they had to get repaired. They made the repairs and a year later the city came and broke up their sidewalk and planted a tree, leaving the sidewalk with several cracks.

Romano spent $750 on a private contractor to come and fix the cracks in the sidewalk left by the city.

“Then I got a contractor to come and straighten out all the cracks,” Romano said. “The tree died after I put all the bricks in and they come and rip all the bricks up and put another tree in there.”

The city then broke up more of the sidewalk in front of Romano’s home to install the bioswale.

“I spent all that money to fix the concrete and they destroyed it three times,” Romano said. “I’m just so upset; it’s so disgusting out there. You don’t do that. You don’t just rip someone’s concrete up.”

Romano may have some hope, if she follows the lead of some Bayside residents who do not want to see these bioswales in front of their homes. These residents have put up a fight against the city installing the bioswales without notification to the homeowner.

With help from state Senator Tony Avella, residents can sign a petition on his website that notifies the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about their decision to opt out of receiving a bioswale.