Another large sinkhole opens in Sunset Park

March 2, 2016 Jaime DeJesus
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Yet another sinkhole strikes Sunset.

At approximately 12 p.m. on Monday, March 1, cops responded to the site of a sizable sinkhole on 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Sunset Park.

No one was injured nor were any vehicles damaged.

The official Twitter account of the 72nd Precinct warned Sunset drivers to stay away from the damaged block. “Beware of a large sink Hole on 56th Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues in (Sunset Park). No thru traffic on 56 Street,” the account stated.

“Excavation of the roadway revealed leaks on the private service lines to 559 and 551 56th Street,” said Edward Timbers, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP), stressing that property owners will be responsible for repairs. “DEP will work with the Department of Transportation to backfill the roadway so it can be reopened to traffic.”

Residents, however, first noticed problems after January’s record-breaking blizzard and electrical-related repairs.

“It had to do with the electrical situation,” claims Angel Santos, who lives in an apartment right by the sinkhole. “Con-Edison had to cut [the street] and see where the wires were running through after electrical problems during the blizzard.”

Following the blizzard, Santos claims he and other residents noticed the street slowly cracking. “Before [the electrical company] made the cut, everything was fine,” he added. “Once they made the cut is when little by little, it started sinking. Earlier, you could just see cracks. I was even telling my mother last night about it. I told her it was going to sink in. It looked that bad.”

Santos and his mother were home when the sinkhole opened. “It just gave way. It just caved in and all you could see was the street cracking,” he said. “You could see that it was going to happen eventually.”

This isn’t the first time the community has dealt with sinkholes. This past August, a 20-foot-wide and 20-foot-deep sinkhole opened up near 64th Street and Fifth Avenue. Though repairs were supposed to be completed by November, the sinkhole that was reportedly caused by a water main break, remains in disrepair.

Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID), echoed the concern of other locals.

“It is so frustrating, because so many locations are seeing these kinds of sinkholes forming and nothing gets done about the collapsing infrastructure until it is this bad,” she said. “All along that depression, the rest of the street is cracking more, so hopefully they will fix it soon.”

By press time, Con Edison had not responded to a request for comment.

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