Queens residents say they’ve asked the state and city to clean up a graveyard of sunken boats and barges for years.
Now, it’s even preventing a business from opening up.
It’s a disgusting sight that residents in the Arverne section of Far Rockaway are fed up with — rusted barges filled with garbage, slowly sinking year after year.
One is way under with the crane sticking out.
“For 15 years, I’ve seen these cranes in the water, and me and my wife used to joke that they’re probably landmarked,” said Edwin Williams, president of the Heart of Rockaway Civic Association. “There’s a huge East Coast Resiliency Project, but it’s mainly focused on Manhattan. We’re like the forgotten part of New York City.”
Lifelong resident Johann Smiley and his son bought land that sits on the bay on Amstel Boulevard a year ago. They wanted to revitalize the area with a dock and restaurant, but the barges are in the way.
He says it’s been a bunch of finger-pointing and broken promises from different state and city agencies.
“They absolutely don’t care what’s going on here,” Johann Smiley told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
He says the barges belong to Anthony Rivara Jr. of Anthony Rivara Contracting, formerly also known as the Pile Foundation, which allegedly owns the neighboring property.
The Smileys say he is a contractor for the Macombs Dam Bridge.
“That garbage that’s on this barge came off of the barges that he took up to the Macombs Dam Bridge,” Smiley said.
Sources confirm they do belong to Anthony Rivara and it’s not the first time he’s had this problem.
Rivara has previously been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the state for “unseaworthy barges” in other parts of the city.
He did not return CBS2’s calls.