What Parks Maintenance Staff Wish You Knew

May 1 2017

It’s all hands on deck as Washington Square Park heads into the busiest season of the year! As in past years, WSPC supported afternoon and evening maintenance workers to help keep the park in tip-top shape. We sat down with Donald Lacks and Deandre Wilson, who have been a part of the WSP maintenance team for three years. They told us about their experience working in the Park and gave some helpful information about keeping the Park clean.

WSPC: What’s your favorite thing about Washington Square Park?

Wilson: Well, it’s a beautiful park.

Lacks: My favorite thing is the people. You meet really interesting people. And when I say interesting people, most of them aren’t what society deems as ‘normal.’ But at the same time, they’re some of the most interesting. I like working here. It’s never a boring day. That’s our motto: “Never a dull day in Washington Square.”

WSPC: On a day-to-day basis, what are your most and least favorite parts of the job?

Wilson: My least favorite part of the day is closing the bathrooms because nobody wants to hear that the bathrooms are closing. People try to pay us to get into the bathroom, people will argue, make a commotion.

Lacks: And it’s crazy because it’s posted. The sign is there all day, every day, all summer and nobody sees the sign.

Wilson: My favorite part of the day is when I run into park patrons who say, “You guys are doing a great job. Thank you. We really appreciate what you do.” And you’d be surprised at how often we get it. Sometimes it’s younger people, but usually, it’s the seniors. It feels good to know that they recognize what we try to do in terms of keeping garbage under control and keeping a lid on it….it feels good!

WSPC: What would you like park patrons to know about maintenance – any message?
Lacks: If you’re sitting 10 feet from a garbage pail, there’s no reason for your garbage to be left on the bench. They’ll leave their garbage and walk right past a garbage can as they exit the park. I don’t understand it. You could’ve just dropped it off on your way.

Wilson: It’s not easy pushing the garbage all around the park all day in those barrels. It’s a workout. And I don’t like how the people feed the rats. When I say feed the rats: They probably mean to feed the squirrels and pigeons. But a lot of things they throw down are not for the squirrels. Let me give you an example. Over there, they threw down a whole tray of hamburger patties and hot dogs. Squirrels are not going to eat that; the pigeons might eat some of it. But the rats are going to eat all of it.