Northeast Queens leaders call on city to fix year-old sidewalk damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias

Photo courtesy of Senator John Liu’s office

A Queens lawmaker called on the city to make long-awaited sidewalk repairs nearly a year after Tropical Storm Isaias wreaked havoc in the metropolitan area.

On Tuesday, July 13, Senator John Liu joined with community leaders and local homeowners in Bellerose who highlighted the dangers surrounding the neglected sidewalks. For the past 11 months, residents have put up traffic cones and homemade signs to warn pedestrians of the the damage and dangerous conditions.

The group said that after months of delays, the city failed to make good on its promise to begin repairs in early spring “when the weather is warmer.” Since then, they said that there have been no updates or follow-ups as to when the city would begin fixing the uprooted sidewalks.

“These sidewalks are used daily by children, seniors and other pedestrians to get to schools, parks, grocery stores, and to run daily errands. Sidewalk safety is more important than ever with the rise in pedestrian usage and it’s unfathomable that a year later the city has failed to make these repairs,” Liu said. “The city must get this work done yesterday, to protect pedestrians from injury, to relieve homeowners of prolonged anxiety and to spare our taxpayers from potentially costly lawsuits against the city.”

Isaias hit the East Coast and the Caribbean in August 2020, leading to Governor Cuomo calling for a state of emergency in the days following to help with cleanup and power restoration.

In the aftermath of Isaias,  Queens residents reportedly had over 9,300 reports of downed trees at the time, making it the borough with the most tree damage in the city.

Residents said that the state of the sidewalks was not only a safety hazard but an eyesore for homeowners who liked to maintain a high standard for neighborhood aesthetics.

“As a longtime Bellerose home owner who takes pride in maintaining the property in pristine condition, I am distressed by having the sidewalk in such an unattractive, unsafe and dangerous condition for the last year. The city promised to repair it but they still have not done so,” Kathy Parent said.

Lifelong Whitestone resident Angela DeNicola, a 93-year-old cancer survivor, echoed Parent’s sentiment.

“I find it unacceptable that the upended sidewalk, caused by a NYC tree that fell in a storm last August, has not been repaired. After numerous calls to various agencies, to no avail, it remains a safety issue,” DeNicola said.

According to a city spokesperson, sidewalk repairs would be coming to the community sooner rather than later.

“We’re grateful to all the elected officials who highlighted the outstanding work today, and we look forward to making the repairs in the coming weeks. Queens deserves safe and accessible sidewalks and we’ll do everything we can to expedite the process from here,” said Mitch Schwartz, a spokesperson for the mayor.