An isolated beach on Jamaica Bay has become an eyesore, littered with religious icons and the gruesome remnants of animal sacrifices, area residents complain.
And last week, Queens News found a decapitated goat and evidence of an apparent chicken sacrifice on the beach, at the foot of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge that connects Broad Channel and Howard Beach.
Fishermen said they have seen headless cats on the shore there.
Locals complain that the National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over the site, does little to patrol or clean the area.
"We're trying to clean up Jamaica Bay here, and we're finding all these religious objects that are detrimental to the marshes," said Dan Mundy Sr., a Broad Channel resident and head of the Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers. "We have been receiving numerous complaints about debris and litter."
Religious groups, sometimes more than 100 strong, congregate at the beach on weekends, according to locals.
They said the area is left littered with coconuts, flags, broken glass, flower wreaths, religious statues, plastic items and bottles - a mix of what appear to be Hindu and Santeria religious items.
The Park Service said it is trying to balance the competing needs of the religious communities and keeping the park clean.
"We've been working with the communities, trying to have them better understand and educate them about the impact of leaving articles from their religious ceremonies," said Patti Reilly, acting superintendent for the Jamaica Bay unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Reilly said maintenance crews clean the site, but trash sometimes accumulates - including dead animals.
"From time to time, we have seen animal carcasses and have removed them quickly," she said. "None of that is permitted."
Local fisherman said the garbage is just one of many problems upsetting the fragile ecosystem of Jamaica Bay.
"There are all sorts of religious byproducts floating around the bay," said Mike McGovern, 70, a retired construction worker who has lived in Broad Channel for most of his life.
"I've seen Styrofoam plates with illuminated candles, dozens of them, floating on the water," he said. "People just can't leave garbage there."
"I don't think Gateway has done enough to clean up the foot of the bridge," said Weiner.
"We want all New Yorkers to enjoy our beaches, but we cannot have circumstances where there is animal cruelty," he said.