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Vagrant-proof fence gets mended

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All’s secure at the 65th Street railyard.

Workers quickly replace a section of the new security fencing around the 65th Street yard — put up in 2008 to keep vagrants from building shantytowns along the tracks — that couldn’t stand up to the ferocity of last week’s storm surge that wreaked havoc across Brooklyn.

Fierce winds sent a tree within the railyard crashing into the tamper-resistant fence, downing a section of it near 66th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues.

To the delight of neighbors, the fence was repaired over the weekend, said Bay Ridge Towers resident Barbara Grebin, who noted that it had been installed in such a way that such repairs would be simple.

“They put it up in pieces on purpose,” she explained. “So, if a piece comes down, they can just put up one new piece.”

The tree was removed last Friday by an MTA Police Department team nearly a week after it came crashing down. Prior to that, it was “leaning through the fence and across a path in Leif Ericson Park,” reported Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of Community Board 10.

A big surprise, Beckmann said, was that the tree “didn’t just knock the section of fence over. It actually bent the metal of the fence.”

I thought tamper-resistant meant that the metal couldn’t be punctured,” she said, “So I was a little surprised it did crumble, but it was the force of the tree.”

In fall 2008, the fencing was installed with great fanfare at the railyard, which is owned by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and leased by New York & Atlantic Railroad, following years of problems with homeless people cutting holes in the existing fence and establishing shantytowns near the tracks.

Besides concerns about vagrants, local residents — including those living in the Bay Ridge Towers, directly above — have worried about the security of the Buckeye Pipeline, which carries jet fuel and runs through the railyard on its way to Kennedy Airport.

The absence of the piece was unlikely to have attracted the vagrants who used to frequent the area, said Grebin.

“Since last spring, there have been fewer around here because they know they have no access to the area,” she explained.

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