I-Team: Rat and Maggot Infested Camp Drama Continues as Children, Parents Are Left Frustrated After Camp Does Not Open in New Location as Planned

What to Know

  • Frustration continues for parents whose children have been subjected to disgusting conditions at summer camp inside a NYCHA community center
  • The summer camp at the Jackie Robinson Community Center in East Harlem has been overrun with rats, roaches and maggots
  • Plans to move camp to a nearby school came to a screeching halt because the city failed to tell the camp the school was closed for a holiday

The frustration and confusion continue for parents whose children have been subjected to disgusting conditions at a summer camp inside a NYCHA community center in East Harlem, as plans to move the camp came to a screeching halt following the latest attempt to relocate it.

The summer camp at the Jackie Robinson Community Center has been overrun with rats, roaches and maggots and after it took Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration weeks to come up with a backup location,  another mix-up  on Monday dashed the hopes of dozens of children.

As happy campers made their way to their new camp location Monday morning, it seemed like the foul smell emanating from decomposing rats falling from the leaky ceiling that caused both children and staff to feel sick was a fleeting memory.

Although, De Blasio promised a speedy solution, the camp was closed and reopened numerous times. Efforts to relocate the camp to the school on the corner initially failed because the city had not secured the proper paperwork from their own Health Department. However, the paperwork was ultimately completed and the camp was scheduled to reopen at P.S. 30 Monday.

Yet, this was not the end of the saga.

On the day it was set to open at the nearby school, Ashia Broussard, the camp's director, told the I-Team that she "was not happy" when she was told the camp could not relocate to the school because the city government failed to inform the camp that the school would be closed for the Eid al-Adha holiday.

“I feel mad and disappointed,” one young camper said. 

“I felt like somebody should have known that,” another camper, Mia Martin, said about the camp not reopening at the school because of the holiday. 

However, when the I-Team visited the public school location, it appeared open as people entered and exited the building.

Eva Moskowitz who runs a charter school inside the P.S. 30 building said she had meetings on site.

“There are plenty of buildings in Harlem that are not being used in the summer why would the mayor not be able to make one of them available I don’t get that,” Moskowitz said.

This is the fourth time this summer the children were told their camp would reopen, only to be disappointed by red tape or more violations.

Meanwhile, the Housing Authority told the I-Team it completed the rat remediation at the center. City health inspectors showed up Monday morning to the community center. In the end, the camp failed inspection again leaving campers out of luck once more.

A spokeswoman for de Blasio told the I-Team that the school was indeed closed for the holiday, but failed to give an explanation as to why the school building appeared to be open for use by others.

City Hall said the camp will be able to occupy the school beginning Tuesday, but families are beginning to lose faith that their children will be able to attend summer camp before the summer ends.

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