Mosquitoes are common, and sometimes painful, annoyances of summer.
But residents of one local neighborhood say they're particularly under siege this year -- and some are so fearful of the blood-sucking pests that they are afraid to go outdoors, even as the most beautiful days of the season approach.
At 6:30 p.m. on a recent warm summer evening when school is out and many people are done with work, the Rockaway Community Park was eerily deserted.
“We have a major nuisance problem in Far Rockaway,” says Donovan Richards, chief of staff to City Councilman James Sanders. “If you don’t have [bug spray], you may not live to tell the tale.”
Richards is referring to the amount of mosquitoes that swarm any warm-blooded being who dares to walk, run or play in the park. It's the proximity to Jamaica Bay and abundance of green space that makes this stretch of Rockaway a perfect breeding ground for the summer pest.
Richards argues the Department of Health isn’t doing enough to combat the quality of life problem the bugs present. He says the councilman’s office is bombarded with phone calls from itchy residents wondering why New York City won’t spray for relief.
Marysol Nieves is one of those angry constituents. The mother of four says the mosquitoes are so bad she doesn’t let her daughters out of the house after 5 p.m. because there are only so many bites and scars the girls can take.
“We buy spray but they bite through the spray,” Nieves said.
The health department argues it OH dtment of Health mental Protetcion 4NYm itchy residents wondering why New York City won;t t dares to walk, run, blade, or plis doing what it can by spraying parts of the city that test positive for West Nile Virus. But unless the virus shows up in the Rockaways, precautionary spraying won’t happen.
Meanwhile, the area is being monitored and there are treatments for catch basins as well as inspections of marshy areas.
But West Nile or no West Nile, area residents say they will keep calling 311 until some sort of solution is reached.
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