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COURIER L 12 IFE, OCTOBER 25-31, 2019
Coach William Greggs points to a small sink hole that has been fi lled with trash at Canarsie’s
Monroe Cohen park. Photo by Derrick Watterson
FRIDAY NIGHT BLIGHT
Canarsie football team’s practice fi eld
plagued by garbage, pipes, human feces
BY JESSICA PARKS
The city has left a small Canarsie
green space to rot, forcing youngsters on
a local football team to practice around
broken pipes, mounds of trash, and literal
piles of crap, according to locals.
“In terms of maintenance, it feels we
aren’t seen as a good community investment
— we are an organization that has
been around for 30 years,” said Mitchell
Greggs, assistant principal of Park
Place Academy, whose husband William
Greggs coaches the team.
Monroe Cohen Park located at
Seaview Avenue and 108th Street is
home to the Brooklyn Renegades, a
youth football and cheer leading organization
serving kids ages 5–14, which
seeks to “mold tomorrow’s leaders”
through hard work and rigorous training,
according to the team’s website.
But the youngsters’ development is
stymied by the fi lth clogging up their
rutty practice fi eld, which looks bad,
smells worse, and poses a hazard to the
kids. The team is prevented from hosting
home games there due to broken pipes
hidden in the grass, forcing them to compete
for time at Canarsie High School’s
football fi eld, said the team’s coach.
“We know where the stuff is, but we
can’t hold any home games,” said William
The practice fi eld also suffers from
lack of proper facilities. Inadequate
lighting leaves kids in the dark after
daylight savings time, forcing coaches
and parents to use their cars’ headlights
to illuminate the fi eld.
“After daylight saving time, kids will
be completely in the dark,” said William
Greggs. “We use cars to light the
fi eld and do whatever we can to get them
ready for the playoffs.”
But the worst part is the dearth of
bathrooms, and kids are forced to run to
McDonalds or head behind some trees
whenever nature calls. The organization
bought its own portable toilet for
the fi eld, but some lowlife set it on fi re,
according to the coach.
Trash lays out on the fi eld for weeks at a
time before sanitation collects it.
Photo by Derrick Watterson
Locals fed up with the fi lth organized
to clean up the park over the summer,
where one woman was shocked to
fi nd human feces strewn throughout the
“While we were cleaning, there were
children who went behind the tree to
use the bathroom,” she Ketsie, a Canarsie
resident who complained about the
park to Community Board 18 at a meeting
on Oct. 16. “And one of the kids actually
said ’how come our neighborhood
doesn’t have bathrooms.’”
William Greggs claims some parents
have reached out to their representatives
about the practice fi eld, but
couldn’t say who specifi cally, claiming
they never received any response.
“We get no help or anything from our
Congresspeople, it is unacceptable,” he
A spokeswoman for the Parks Department
claimed the park is cleaned
as much as seven times a week, and applauded
locals for taking the matter into
their own hands.
“We always welcome and encourage
volunteers to help maintain and
beautify our parks, and invite any of
our permitted sports leagues to help
set up clean-up days at this park,” said
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