Saturday, April 23, 2016

Man Robbed In Washington Square Park At Gun Point

Manhattan 

By Geoffrey Croft

Police apprehended a couple wanted in connection of a robbery in Washington Square Park yesterday, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Police responded to a 911 call of a man with a gun at 9:20 a.m. After a brief foot pursuit near LaGuardia Pl., they caught a male and a female suspects attempting to flee.

Ramell Huggings, 25, and Sakema Daniels, 26 were arrested, both Manhattan residents. Police discovered an imitation pistol in his pants pocket during the search.

The victim said the male suspect threatened him with a gun which he said the assailant had in his hand. The victim, a Bronx resident was robbed of $18 dollars.
During the incident Huggings said he was going to shoot at the officers, according to police.

While in custody, Huggins attempted to kick out the window of the patrol car. 

Higgins was charged with Criminal Possession of A Weapon, Robbery, Resisting Arrest, Escape, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Daniels was charged with Robbery.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Police Arrest Man With Knife & Warrants In Queens Playground

Queens

By Geoffrey Croft

Police arrested a man carrying a gravity knife in a playground NYC Park Advocates has learned.

While on patrol on Tuesday night police noticed Gary Caldwell, 20,  trespassing in Dutch Kills Playground at 9:50pm. after park hours.  

Upon further investigation police discovered he had a gravity knife in his pants pocket and two open warrants including one for Criminal Possession of Marijuana. 

In 2015 Caldwell was arrested for Criminal Possession of Marijuana, he also has numerous sealed arrests. 

Caldwell, who resides on 12th Street near the Queensbridge Houses, was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Failure to Comply With A Sign. 

The playground is located on 28 St., Crescent St. bet. 37 Ave. and 36 Ave. within the confines of the 114th Pct.  

The incident occurred less than a day after the Parks Department held a scoping meeting at P.S. 112 to hear ideas on how to spend $4.5 million on a much needed park renovation.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Attempted Rape Of Jogger In Prospect Park

The suspect is described as black and 6 feet tall with light facial hair and was wearing a black jogging suit at the time of the incident.
The police released a sketch and video surveillance of a suspect wanted in the sexual attack of a 23-year-old jogger in Prospect Park at knife point early Wednesday morning.

Brooklyn

By Geoffrey Croft

A 23-year-old woman jogging in Prospect Park was attacked at knife point.

The terrifying incident occurred on Wednesday morning around 5:15 a.m. in the park near the Garfield Place and the Prospect Park West entrance.

The man came from behind and threw her to the ground. He displayed a knife and told the woman he was going to rape her, according to police.

The woman fought back and struggled with her attacker until he eventually gave up.

The woman was taken to New York Methodist Hospital where she needed stitches to close the wound to her right index finger she received during the assault. 

Police have flooded the area with wanted posters.

The assailant is described as a black male between 5’10” and 6′ tall
180 to 190 pounds with short hair and a goatee. 

He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt and black pants with white lettering on one pant leg and wearing black sneakers with white bottoms. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) 

FBI Probing Horse Carriage Ban Effort - Again



Mayor de Blasio addressing the media on February 4th after his bill, which would have restricted carriage horses to Central Park as well as had tax payers foot the bill to relocate the horse carriage industry into a Parks Department owned building in the park, collapsed.  

For the second time in two years the Federal Bureau is investigating financial issues and its influence related to an effort to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. Federal and state investigations are looking into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign fundraising operations and are examining the efforts of NYCLASS, a politically connected group that donated funds to a Mayoral controlled nonprofit Campaign for One New York, in its effort to ban carriage rides.

In 2014 the FBI questioned ex-Council Speaker Christine Quinn and others in its probe into Mayor de Blasio’s flip-flop on the carriage ban.

The Mayor’s horse trade deal quickly fell apart in February after a particularly embarrassing City Council hearing on the issue. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) 


Manhattan

Coordinated federal and state investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising operations are examining efforts by a politically connected group to ban horse carriages in New York City, people familiar with the matter said, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.  
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has pushed for more than two years to ban the horse carriages, saying it is inhumane for them to traverse Manhattan’s busy streets. To date, Mr. de Blasio has been unable to muster support in the City Council to fulfill his 2013 campaign pledge to ban the carriages. 
The Mayor’s efforts to ban horse-drawn carriages quickly fell apart in February after the carriage license owners voted not to support Teamster's Local 553 deal with the Mayor and an embarrassing City Council hearing on the issue.

The offices of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are considering, among other matters, whether fundraising efforts circumvented state election laws and whether donors were promised or given official benefits, people familiar with the matter said.
Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said, “Mayor de Blasio holds his administration to the highest standards of integrity. We will cooperate fully with the investigations.
The two donors behind the proposed horse-carriage ban, Wendy Neuand Steven Nislick, haven’t been accused of any wrongdoing. A spokesman for Ms. Neu and Mr. Nislick and their anti-horse-carriage organization, NYCLASS, said the group was focused on fighting for animal rights and would answer any questions investigators may have if contacted. 
“That’s their only agenda and one worth fighting for,” he said.
Ms. Neu and Mr. Nislick gave more than $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that was run by the mayor’s allies and supported Mr. de Blasio’s policy and political agenda, records show. They also financed an independent campaign against former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a rival to Mr. de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary.
The Daily News reported in 2014 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into whether donations to the group behind the carriage ban were being directed to an organization attacking Ms. Quinn.
In an interview earlier this year, Ms. Neu and Mr. Nislick said they gave money to the Campaign for One New York because they supported Mr. de Blasio’s broader policy agenda, including universal prekindergarten. 
The probe of the mayor’s fundraising activities overlaps with separate federal and state probes into alleged corruption at the NYPD and the lifting of city deed restrictions on a Manhattan health-care facility. Those investigations also involve donors to Mr. de Blasio. 
The examination of the efforts to ban horse carriages is connected to the broader inquiry that has focused on mayoral fundraising and the Campaign for One New York, which was disbanded earlier this year. The organization accepted unlimited donations from people and groups, including real-estate developers and unions with business before the city.
Since becoming mayor, Mr. de Blasio has aggressively pursued his pledge to ban the horse carriages, despite polls showing New Yorkers oppose the ban. 
The privately owned stables on Manhattan’s West Side where the horses are currently kept are worth millions of dollars. Mr. Nislick, a real-estate developer, said he isn’t interested in purchasing the stables. In the interview earlier this year, he said he wouldn’t take them if they were given to him. 
Mr. Nislick and Ms. Neu have met with Mr. de Blasio at least four times since he took office and have enjoyed close access to top members of his staff, according to records and people familiar with the matter.

The mayor’s pursuit of the horse-carriage ban became a point of frustration among Mr. de Blasio’s aides, many of whom opposed the fight. At an annual political dinner earlier this month, the mayor poked fun at the controversy; in a video, a man in a horse mask chased Mr. de Blasio around City Hall.
Mr. de Blasio proposed a bill this year that would have moved the horses’ stables inside Central Park, a plan that would have cost $25 million in taxpayer funds to build new stables. The bill would have also limited the number of horses allowed to work in the park. 
The plan began falling apart as Mr. de Blasio traveled earlier this year in Iowa to campaign for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Two days after he returned, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito pulled the bill from the council’s agenda, saying it had lost support of the Teamsters union that represented the horse-carriage drivers.
Mr. de Blasio was privately furious, according to people close to him. He showed up to City Hall as horse-carriage drivers celebrated on the steps, sitting in his car for about 15 minutes as he decided what to say. Several weeks later, he participated in a phone call with the donors about this issue, according to city lobbying disclosures.
The investigation is also exploring the role real-estate donors played in the mayor’s 2014 efforts to bring the state Senate under Democratic control, according to people familiar with the matter. The authorities’ interest in the state campaigns was reported Tuesday by the New York Times.
Investigators are considering, among other matters, whether the Campaign for One New York asked real-estate interests and others to donate to campaigns outside the city in a way that deliberately eluded election laws, according to a person familiar with the matter. 
It is a felony in New York to solicit or coordinate expenditures in connection with a candidate’s nomination or election with the purpose of evading contribution limits.

Read More:


The Wall Street Journal  - April 21, 2016 - By Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Josh Dawsey

A Walk In The Park - February 4, 2016 - By Geoffrey Croft 

New York Daily News  - April 27, 2014, - By  Greg B. Smith, Corinne Lestch, Larry Mcshane





Wednesday, April 13, 2016

200 Lb. Concrete Slab Falls From Van Wyck Expressway Into Parks Dept. Parking Lot


A  2 and a 1/2 foot section of a crumbling support column that holds up the VanWyck Expressway fell into a Parks Department parking lot in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. The parking facility is used by thousands of people daily.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.



Late yesterday afternoon New York State DOT sent personnel to investigate. The agency says the two hundred pound debris is not from the Van Wyck overpass and are speculating that it was illegally dumped.


Queens

By Geoffrey Croft

A two-hundred pound slab of concrete feel fell thirty feet from under the Van Wyck Expressway into a Parks Department parking lot narrowly missing parked cars and park goers, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Parks Department personnel at the Aquatic Center were alerted by a frightened park patron yesterday afternoon that a piece of the support column had broken off and come crashing down into the parking lot. 

The reinforced concrete structures support the steel beams that hold up the 40-foot-high viaduct which was constructed between 1947 and 1963.

Dozens of sections under the elevated viaduct are severally deteriorated. Exposed rusted rebar and crumbling concrete sections are easily spotted along the more than half long mile section of the NY State DOT property.

Thousands of people park in the dangerous facility daily including park patrons using the aquatic center/Ice Arena, the Al Oerter Recreation Center, along with neighborhood businesses and area residents. 

The incident occurred near stanchion # 73 located between the Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Aquatic Center/Ice Arena and the Al Oerter Recreation Center at Meridian Rd and East Rd & 131st St.  in Flushing Queens. 
  

The US Open also uses the parking facility. 

“If that would have landed on someone they would have been dead,”  said a Parks Department employee. 

Faded spray paint marking off structural deficiencies can be seen at multiple locations.  

“They clearly marked off areas that need to be repaired but it looks like that was done a few years ago,” said a Parks Department employee.

The two-hundred pound slab of concrete and metal came crashing down within inches of a parked vehicle.  Thousands of people use the parking facility daily including park patrons and neighborhood businesses and area residents. 

"I guess they’re waiting for something to happen.”

Park employees say this is not the first time sections have fallen.

“Lots of the columns that have deteriorated pretty badly,  pieces have fallen all over the place. Park patrons pick up the smaller pieces and put them on the grass because they don’t want to run over them,“ an employee said.

























Due to the overall condition of neglect, it's hard to imagine that the structural integrity has not been severally compromised by the defered mainainence.



"This is really scary," said a mother who was parked near the incident.  The woman had just exited the ice rink with her two children, an eight-year-old and two month-old daughter.  

"They are not maintaining it. " 

The dangerous infrastructure isn’t the only issue according to several park employees.  

The poorly lite facility is also popular with thieves stealing car parts. 

“Almost every day someone complains about getting ripped off,” said a law enforcement source.

"The city has also known about this for a long time.”  




By mid afternoon the area had been cordoned off with caution tape. 


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jogger Slashed In Van Cortland Park

Bronx

By Geoffrey Croft

A Bronx resident was slashed while jogging in Van Cortlandt Park on Tuesday night according to police.

The victim, 29, was running in the park near Putnam Trail South at approximately 7:30 p.m. when two black two males in their mid twenties approached him.  One of the attackers slashed the runner on his right cheek with an unknown weapon.  He suffered a 2-inch laceration. 

The victim refused medical attention.

The assailants fled into the woods.

One of the attackers was described approximately 6 feet tall with a small afro and wearing a red Adidas hooded sweatshirt. 

Police have no description of the second assailant.

The incident occurred within the confines of the 50 Pct. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Police Search For Suspects Wanted In Robberies In Two UWS Parks


Police are looking for suspects wanted in connection with robberies in Riverside and Mornignside Parks in the early hours of March 6th.  Police released video and photographs of suspects. 

Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

The New York City Police Department is asking the public for assistance with locating and identifying the individuals wanted in connection to several robberies that occurred on Sunday March 6th.

At approximately 1:40am inside Morningside Park, located at Morningside Drive and West 116 Street,  a 23-year-old male was approached from behind by three individuals who pushed him to the ground and demanded his property.  

Once on the ground one of the  assailants individuals went through the victim’s pocket and removed his wallet, an undetermined amount of cash, and a cellphone. The individuals fled westbound towards Morningside Drive.

The Incident occured within the confines of the 26 Pct.

video

Police released video of suspects wanted in the March 6th robbery and attacks. 

Approximately a half hour later at 2:21am the three assailants approached a 22 and 23-year-old male sitting on the bench inside Riverside Park, located at Riverpark Drive and West 108 Street.

An individual punched one of the victims in the face while another assailant took property from the victim’s pocket.  The individuals fled southbound from inside Riverside Park.

The Incident occured within the confines of the 24 Pct.

Approximately a half hour later at approximately 2:40am a 27-year-old male was walking northbound on Westend Avenue and West 73 Street near when he was approached by the three individuals from behind. One of the individuals pulled the victim by the jacket collar and tried to take his bag. An unknown male saw the incident and shouted at the robbers prompting them individuals to flee southbound on Wesstend Avenue.  No property was removed.

The Incident occured within the confines of the 20 Pct.

Individual 1: approximately a 20-year-old male, Black, 5'8"tall, 180 lbs, medium complexion, last seen wearing a red jacket, black jeans and a baseball cap.

Individual 2: approximately a 20-year-old male, Black, 5'9",tall, 160 lbs, medium complexion, slender build, last seen wearing a black jacket, black jeans, black hoody, and black sneakers

Individual 3: approximately a 20-year-old male, Black, 6'0"tall,170 lbs, medium complexion, gray jeans, blue jacket, and a gray striped hoody.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.