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Shoreline Cleanup Volunteers Find Gun in Astoria Park

April 10, 2018 By Tara Law

A pair of volunteers made a shocking discovery while picking up trash along the Astoria Park shoreline Saturday morning— a gun in a plastic bag.

Laura Picallo and Laura Aguinaga found the weapon while gathering trash with about 30 volunteers from the Astoria Park Alliance, a local conservation nonprofit, during one of the organization’s monthly shoreline cleanups.

The firearm (Photo: Laura Picallo)

Aguinaga said the pair decided to clean up a neglected area separate from the Alliance’s typical cleanup route.

Around 11:30 a.m., Picallo picked up a black plastic bag with a stick claw. The bag was strangely heavy, so she peeked inside and discovered the gun, Aguinaga said.

“She calls me over and she’s like, ‘you’re not going to believe what I found,” Aguinaga said.

The women waved down a passing police car and handed the gun over to the cops.

Volunteers typically find a lot of weird junk during cleanups, according to Anthony Liberatoscioli, the Alliance’s vice chair and the supervisor of the cleanup that day. On Saturday, volunteers also picked up a shopping cart and a bowling ball. However, a volunteer has never found a gun.

“Unabashedly, I can say this has never happened before,” said Martha Lopez-Gilpin, president of the Astoria Parks Alliance. “We have protocols for finding needles, but we’ve never had a protocol for finding firearms.” 

The Astoria Park Alliance hosts shoreline cleanups once a month, and park cleanups twice monthly. The group’s next shoreline cleanup is on May 12.

Laura Aguinaga and Laura Picallo (Photo: Anthony Liberatoscioli)

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I go to the piers in LIC when i want to enjoy a beautiful day and see amazing views of Manhattan. Astoria Park is too trashy and dirty IMO especially during the city pool opening. And I can not stand the traffic and bike lanes at Astoria Park.


The put from the dogs is because is e ladi that her job is bring dogs to e park 6 am 10 am,12am about 10 dogs and she not clean after them

Flushing Skeptic

I’m glad to see they did the right thing by handing it over to NYPD. I wonder if it will be connected with any crime?


While walking my dog on shore blvd and 20 Ave there were a lot if razor blades very dangerous. To chrildren can you please send someone to clean


People need to be trained to pick up hazardous or unsafe material. Its not something I would recommend without wearing gloves and such especially if its not on your property.


There’s protocol to cleaning sharp objectives. Primarily, you don’t want to risk an infection. The issue with Astoria Park is there aren’t enough individuals to patrol any wrongdoing. It seems like a total junkyard at times. And those who walk and refuse to curb their dog needs to be fined. Why is an area that is designed for people to sit, read a book, enjoy the weather, etc., ruined because dog owners can’t take ten seconds to clean up after their dog? Fine them and use the funds to renovate the park.


Many renters in Astoria are pet owners. Astoria Park is a pet friendly park and will stay that way. However, an effort should be made to fine the few that do not clean up after their dog.


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