Several Whitestone businesses along 14th Avenue near Clintonville and 150th streets reached out to the Queens Tribune this week after having reported a nauseating odor to city agencies to no effect.
Bagel Time, located at 150-51 14th Ave., has been especially plagued by the stench. The store is the only eatery in the shopping center from which the smell is emanating.
“Because the smell is right in front of our business, people think we’re causing the problem,” said Bagel Time owner Fred Park. “We’re losing business because people suspect it’s us—that we’re throwing out old food or something, but that’s not the case because our garbage goes into the dumpsters in the back of the building.”
There are two manholes near the shopping center. Park said that he has contacted Con Ed twice since January due to the odor.
“Every time they come and clean up the liquid from the manholes, the odor goes away—but then the odor comes back,” said Park.
Some business owners at the shopping center suspect that the odor could be coming from Raspberry Farm, a supermarket located farther up the strip. Since there is an incline leading up to the market, garbage fluid leaks down to the manholes located directly in front of Bagel Time, store owners said.
Several store owners—including Park; the manager of Solera Tanning Spa; and Dr. Frank Cesare, who is the owner of Core Physical Therapy—have called 311 and the city’s departments of Health and Enviornmental Protection, but they said that the issue persists.
The Queens Tribune reached out to Councilman Paul Vallone’s (D-Bayside) office, which had just learned of the issue on Monday.
“We immediately reached out to the DEP to determine the cause of the odor and what steps can be taken to remedy the situation,” said Vallone.
The DEP’s Emergency Response Unit inspected the odor—which was originally reported as an oil spill—and confirmed that there was no evidence of a spill, but noted that the odor was from food waste that was spilling onto the street from Raspberry Farm.
“I just spoke with the inspector and they’re not going to see this problem anymore,” the owner of the grocery store told the Queens Tribune, but would not provide further comment.
However, businesses along the strip are still hoping that the street’s manholes will be cleaned since the odor is still present.