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Queens residents want railroad company to clean up trash-ridden railroad tracks

Queens residents want train company to clean up trash-ridden railroad tracks
Queens residents want train company to clean up trash-ridden railroad tracks 02:15

NEW YORK - Daniel Kalmann is a lifeguard and nature lover originally from the Netherlands and living in Maspeth. Except for the periodic rumble of the train behind his home, he says it's peaceful there.

But there's trouble in his backyard paradise. Behind his fence, just out of reach, he sees trash, trash, and more trash.

"The expression, you can live on the right side or the wrong side of the railroad track, and this is — the railroad track is the bad side," he said.

The commercial tracks move freight but double as a graveyard for a soggy mattress, a shriveled wading pool and piles of household waste.

"It's not particularly safe, doesn't smell too good," he said.

Kalmann reported the problem in April to the train operator, New York & Atlantic Railway, but hasn't seen action.

"Not getting an answer makes you feel not important, not listened to," he said.

Maspeth locals tell us they want accountability for corporations, and more than that, they want fairness when it comes to enforcement from the city.

Anthony Nunziato is a neighborhood florist and president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. He says small businesses like his flower shop are held to a higher standard.

"You get a fine because you don't have a garbage cover, or if there's garbage on the street, you get a fine," he said. "If it's my property, I'm responsible. It's their property."

When CBS New York reached out for comment, the railroad company replied in part, "New York & Atlantic Railway is committed to keeping the properties under our control neat and orderly. We are also concerned about the persistent litter problem and illegal dumping on and around our property..."

CBS New York asked the city about sanitation enforcement on the tracks but did not hear back.

Council Member Robert Holden says the tracks have become a haven for rats and mosquitos. He remembers one fine for the company in the past few years.

"It did little, though. They didn't really clean up the tracks," he said.

Daniel Kalmann says, after his little slice of nature gets a cleanup, he'll have no complaints.

"As good as it gets," he said.

You can email Elle with Queens story ideas by CLICKING HERE

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