Far Rockaway Residents Fed Up With Graveyard Of Sunken Boats, Rusted Barges Filled With Garbage

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; CBS2's Lisa Rozner reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: It is an Earth Day eye sore. Queens residents say that they have asked the state and city to clean up a graveyard of sunken boats and barges for years.

MAURICE DUBOIS: And now, it's preventing a business from opening up. CBS 2's Lisa Rozner reports from the Rockaways.

- It's disgusting.

- A disgusting site that residents in the Arverne section of Far Rockaway are fed up with. Rusted barges filled with garbage, slowly sinking year after year. You can see one is way under with the crane sticking out.

EDWIN WILLIAMS: For 15 years, I've seen these cranes in the water, and me and my wife used to joke that they're probably landmarked. 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, John Smiley, and his son bought land that sits on the Bay on Amstell 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.

JOHANN SMILEY: They absolutely don't care what's going on here.

- He says, the barges belong to Anthony Rivera Jr. of Anthony Rivera Contracting, formerly, also, known as the Pile Foundation, which allegedly owns the neighboring property. The Smiley's say, he is a contractor for the McComb's Dam Bridge.

- That garbage that's on this barge came off of the barges that he took up to the McComb's Dam Bridge.

LISA ROZNER: Sources confirm, these do belong to Anthony Rivera, and it's not the first time he's had this problem.

Rivera has previously been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the state for unseaworthy barges in other parts of the city.

[PHONE RINGING]

He did not return our calls. The State Department of Environmental Conservation says, it has limited jurisdiction, but there could be enforcement. It's also working with the US Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers to get the barges out. But like what's happened over the last year, a spokesperson could not give us any timeline.

- We are destroying life. We're destroying the water, and this is unacceptable.

- In the Arverne section of Far Rockaway, Queens, Lisa Rozner, CBS 2 News.