Brooklyn Heights

Illegal food vendor caught pooping near Brooklyn Bridge

Incident one of many calling attention to abuses of overpass' walkway

July 28, 2023 Mary Frost
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DUMBO — Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO residents are disgusted and infuriated as a video has come to light exposing a long-time food vendor defecating between cars at the entrance stairway to the Brooklyn Bridge, on Cadman Plaza East.

The video shows the vendor wiping his behind with napkins just feet away from his food stand and the narrow bridge staircase, as vehicles zoom by. 

“This man is taking a crap right here on the street,” the person who took the video narrates. “As you can see, he’s wiping his butt. This is gross. It stinks. And he just doesn’t care.”

The woman sharing the video told the Brooklyn Eagle, “I’m writing today so that yourself and the public are aware of this vendor who has a meal cart at the walk entrance of Cadman Plaza. I was parked two cars away from the happening. I also work in the area,” she wrote.

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A video sent to the Brooklyn Eagle exposes a food vendor defecating between cars at the entrance stairway to the Brooklyn Bridge, on Cadman Plaza East. Video Courtesy of reader

This has been going on for more than a year

Neighbors, including Doreen Gallo, president of the Cadman Park Conservancy, have complained to officials for more than a year about the illegally-parked food stands, trucks and debris-filled cars right next to the stairway entrance to the historic Brooklyn Bridge, calling them unsightly, smelly and unsafe. 

But this brings it to a new level.

It’s not just about the disgusting health issues, Gallo, long a prominent force in the historic preservation of DUMBO, told the Eagle.

“What should be a celebrated open, clear, clean pedestrian entrance to the historic Brooklyn Bridge (and the connection to the northeast entrance to Cadman Plaza Park), is cluttered in a ‘no standing anytime’ zone with concession trucks, creating noise pollution, fire issues and filthy, unsanitary street conditions,” she said.

Gallo said that the vehicles “create a cluster of moving parts with an accident waiting to happen.” The trucks and cars often double park or park on the sidewalk feet away from the bridge entrance, potentially blocking emergency vehicles and creating a security vulnerability under critical infrastructure. “I saw a vendor take a five-gallon water jug and put gasoline in it,” she said. “It’s the same two vendors. They literally sleep there overnight,” she said.

Gallo said that last year someone removed the “No Standing” sign under the overpass. She had it replaced with the help of Councilmember Lincoln Restler’s office, but the vendors continue to ignore it, she said.

A handful of vendors have been parking illegally with seeming impunity at the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Mary Frost/Brooklyn Eagle


“This is appalling,” Lara Birnback, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association told the Eagle on Friday.

“It’s pretty upsetting to learn that this has been going on for quite some time with seemingly little to no enforcement from the authorities. The BHA supports the efforts of the Cadman Park Conservancy to bring an end to this kind of illegal health hazard.”

While the 84th Precinct has been responsive to requests to ticket cars parked illegally on Brooklyn Heights’ narrow streets in the past, the one block under the bridge overpass, covered with bird droppings and food garbage, seems to have been off the Precinct’s radar.

Food vendors parked illegally at the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge on Cadman Plaza East. Photo: Mary Frost/Brooklyn Eagle

But no more, said Deputy Inspector Adeel Rana, Commanding Officer of the 84th Precinct.

Rana told the Eagle on Thursday that he had not been aware of the disgusting situation.

“We are investigating and will address it,” he said.

Patrons of food carts should exercise caution when consuming food from other neighborhood stands as well, because the vendor pictured sometimes works at carts elsewhere.

One neighbor said she was “grossed out” upon hearing of the event, then remarked, “Sh*t happens.”

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