Bellerose Terrace lies a stone’s throw from the Queens/Nassau County border. And like many other communities, there are quality of life issues that periodically crop up. Such was the case recently when Sheila Moriarty, vice president of the Bellerose Terrace Civic Association, was recently alerted to a litter situation that’s come up before on Jericho Turnpike between 244th Street and Colonial Road. It’s on this stretch of the turnpike that there are a number of small businesses and apartment buildings, some of which have been disposing of trash improperly. Local resident Jill Popolizio alerted Moriarty to how bad it had recently become.
“Jill knows that I’m the vice president of the civic association and gave me a phone call asking if I had taken a look at Jericho Turnpike,” Moriarty explained. “I took a ride up there and was completely floored by what I was seeing. Garbage was on the streets and all over the sidewalks—broken glass and everything.”
Both Moriarty and Popolizio were aghast at what they saw and decided to do something about it. On this particular Sunday, the former had bags and the latter had gloves and also a small crew consisting of her two kids and one of their friends, and from here, the grassroots workforce rolled up their sleeves. By the time the quintet was done scouring this four-block stretch, they had filled up four 55-gallon contractor bags. According to Moriarty, it’s been an ongoing problem.
“The businesses throw out their garbage on Friday, and pickup for us is Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings; so they take out all their garbage on Friday nights, so it sits there the whole entire weekend. I haven’t seen it that bad in a long time,” she said.
Moriarty added, “But you can’t get in touch with the landlord. I’ve tried leaving messages and even writing to the address that they have on the inside of the doors and no response back. The town has come to try and give them citations, but they’re not able to enter the buildings; so they just stick it on the doors, so you know how that goes. What concerns me is that there is a tattoo parlor between 244th and 245th and I’m concerned how they dispose of their hazardous material. Are they also throwing out their stuff to the curb just like everybody else and not disposing it the way it’s supposed to be disposed of?”
Being so close to the city border, Bellerose Terrace has had issues in the past with certain agencies, be it 911 or sanitation, mistakenly thinking this community is in Queens, when it is in fact a hamlet in the Town of Hempstead.
“There are 655 houses here throughout the whole entire community. We are the least known area in Nassau County because nobody knows what to do with us,” Moriarty said. “Whenever we call code enforcement, we get asked if we’re sure that we’re part of Nassau and not part of Queens. I’d like to be part of Queens, so I can pay their taxes instead.”
Luckily, Moriarty has found an ally in the form of Hempstead Town Councilman Ed Ambrosino. He recently responded on the Bellerose Terrace Civic Association Facebook page and has sent agents out to investigate and issue fines when necessary. A representative from Ambrosino’s office responded when contacted for comment.
“We do the best we can, and when we’re made aware of situations, we address the situation as quickly as possible,” he said. “Even though trash pickup is scheduled three times a week, oftentimes we’ll wind up making extra trips out there to clean up.”
The problem is that certain business owners eschew using a private carter and instead dispose of their refuse in little plastic shopping bags. These are then placed into wire basket bins meant for the public and not for apartment or commercial disposal. With there also being a feral cat problem in this area, bags invariably get ripped open and trash finds its way onto the turnpike. It’s a frustrating situation for Moriarty, who is understandably upset about how it reflects on Bellerose Terrace.
“We need to find a way to make the business owners and landlords of these properties more accountable for the cleanliness of Jericho Turnpike,” she said. “It looks bad for such a great community when all people see is the long line of garbage thrown out on a Friday night not to be picked up until Monday morning. It is a shame business owners don’t take pride in the community in which they conduct their business.”