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Parks Dept Allows Catering Hall to Fence Off Staten Island Greenway

1:18 PM EDT on June 30, 2010

si_fence.jpgA Staten Island catering hall erected this jury-rigged greenway-blocking fence and laid down a makeshift paintjob that "erases" markings on the path. They added the courteous touch of caution tape after cyclist Gregory DeRespino slammed into the fence. Photo: SI Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel

The New York City Parks Department has come up with a striking new method to demean pedestrians and cyclists and disrupt the public right-of-way.

Parks has allowed a catering hall called the Vanderbilt ("Staten Islands only oceanfront ballroom") to fence off a portion of the greenway running alongside the boardwalk in South Beach, according to a report in the Staten Island Advance. The fence forces greenway users to turn around and detour to Father Capodanno Boulevard, and it's already claimed a victim: Local resident Gregory DeRespino landed in the hospital with injuries to his shoulder, neck and calf, after unsuspectingly biking into the fence the morning it went up.

Vanderbilt manager Joe Tranchina received permission from Parks to put up the fence after pitching it as a safety precaution to reduce conflicts between greenway users and the restaurant's delivery vehicles and valet service. Apparently, someone at Parks gave the green light "on a trial basis," according to a department spokesperson quoted by the Advance.

You've got to wonder how the city allowed such an idea to reach this point. A private business just convinced Parks to let it block off the public right-of-way and "erase" street markings with what looks to be a hasty paintjob. Did they even have to fill out any paperwork, or does it just take a few phone calls? Neither the Parks Department nor Tranchina have returned our requests for information so far.

Hat tip to Meredith Sladek for alerting us to this story.

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