Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Park Worker Sent To Hospital After Being Overtaken By Fecal Fumes

A Parks Department worker was forced to spend the day in the emergency room after being overtaken by fecal fumes in Sara D Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side.   "What the hell is this, what the hell I'm I looking at.... Toilet paper and shit,"   (Video Warning: Graphic Language) 


By Geoffrey Croft

A Parks Department worker was forced to spend the day in the emergency room after being overtaken by fecal fumes, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Daniel Roca, 54, arrived at work for his 8 am shift in Sara D Roosevelt Park yesterday but before he even got passed the second set of doors into the building he was confronted by a putrid smell.

The building's basement had been flooded with fecal matter after the adjacent public bathroom was clogged. 

A hoodie and other items were found jammed into the toilet which caused the plumbing to back up into the building.

"It smelled so strong.   I was gagging, " the worker said. 

Roca said he threw up in the street from the stench while out getting masks. 

He said he felt nausuais, dizzy and a tightness in his chest.  

"Thank goodness I didn't have a heart attack, I'm lucky"  said Roca who has a 10-year-old son. 

"My doctor was very clear, he said do not go back there."   

The Park Enforcement Patrol officer is assigned to the Communication Division located in a building in Sara D Roosevelt Park on Broom Street, between Chrystie and Forsythe Streets.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

The bathrooms were left open overnight on consecutive evenings according to several park workers familiar with the incident. 

"You can't do that there, the junkies stuff rags, shirts and newspapers down the toilet," said a park maintenance worker. 

"There's no toilet paper, the homeless and junkies steal it.  The bathrooms in Central Park and Bryant Park are tended to why aren't these?   

Wearing a mask Roca ventured into the basement to investigate the source of the smell with a parks plumber. 

"What the hell is this, what the hell I'm I looking at," the park worker can be heard asking in a video obtained by NYC Park Advocates.  

"Toilet paper and shit," the other park worker responds.   The worker describes items in the basement including a copier  and paperwork. 

"Its gotta get thrown out," a worker says.  

"I couldn't believe it, you have to be kidding," Roca said as he saw first hand the human waste that had bubbled up from the floor.

"It's a bio-hazzard.  If you can smell it's airborne. You're breathing that in. " 

This is not the first time the basement has flooded. A rusted botton of a filing cabinet.

While the workers eventually got masks they had to regularly remove them to answer the phones.

"We should not be in that building period," Roca said after spending the day in the emergancy room and undergoing a barrage of tests at NYU on 1st Avenue.  

"Would central communications for the Police Department for the Fire Department be located in a building like that, of course not.  This is a disenfranchised agency. We've been marginalized. "  

Mr. Roca works as a Park Enforcement Patrol officer assigned to the Communication Division in a building located in Sara D Roosevelt Park on Broom Street, between Chrystie and Forsythe Streets. 

Approximately two dozen park employees work in the building. 

The red brick building has been plagued by a host of issues including bed bugs and mold since being completely gutted and renovated a decade ago.

"The place is deplorable, " said Local 983 President Joe Puleo which represents the PEP workers.   

"No one should have to endure toxic fumes while working," he said.   

The bathroom toilets are clogged all the time several park employees said.

"There are no workers on the grounds, look at this place, it's disgusting,"  fumed a park worker pointing to the copious amount of garbage piled around the park.

"Everyone is moble,  we have no permant workers assigned here. These people deserve nice parks,"  the worker said.  

Coined "America’s finest playground,” when it opened in 1934,   the city has allowed the 7.8-acre Lower East Side park which serves largely immigrant patrons,  to deteriorate into a cesspool.   

The park, built over demolished tenements,  is in desperate need of tens of millions of dollars in capital funds to fix sink holes that plague the park.   

The park's filth had been caused by decades of neglect due to a chronic lack of staffing.  The neglect has long impacted the safety and enjoyment of the public in this heavily utilized park near China Town.    

The building is adjacent to a popular, and terribly maintained and falling apart, soccer field.

The bathrooms are often out of service due to a lack of permanent staffing needed to deal with unsanitary conditions. 

One of several unsightly flypaper hanging in the building. 

For years the stairs in the front of the building have been blocked off due to the crumbling condition.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Central Park Water Gun Fight Cancelled For Great Lawn - Event Will Continue Throughout Park - Organizers

Waterfight NYC 2015  Facebook page screenshot.


By Geoffrey Croft

The tension created by tomorrow's un-permitted water gun fight which had been shaping up as a potential showdown in the park has been at least been partially defused as organizers have canceled the initial battlefield location - The Great Lawn.

"We are no longer doing it on the Great Lawn, " said co-creater Brian De La Cruz.  "It's going to be spread out throughout the park," he said. 

Authorities were concerned that if the number of people who confirmed on Facebook actually showed up they could damage the lawn.

The social media-promoted event is billed as Waterfight NYC 2015.  Sixty-three thousand people have already said they were coming and another six thousand "maybe's".

The event, the brainchild of cousins Brian De La Cruz and Joshen Abreu had been planned for The Great Lawn at 2:00pm. 

A Central Park Conservancy spokesperson explained that large events like this require a permit which organizers do not have. 

"The NYPD and PEP are aware that this is an un-permitted event," a Conservancy spokesperson said. 

"It's not illegal to have water guns in the park, " said De La Cruz who said they were never contacted by the Parks Department.

"You can't stop people from coming in.  It was never an organized event, it was always friends inviting friends but now that the media began covering it, it has grown huge. 

They (the city) have every right to stop a large un-permitted event. I agree with that," he said.

Last year's Water fight looked like a lot of fun. 

"Ladies remember your hair will get wet, but who cares? The idea is to have fun," the narrator states, adding, "and most important make friends."

Read More:

Central Park: Annual NYC water fight will be shut down
Am NY - July 23, 2015 - By Ryan Kushner 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tree Branch Injures Teen In Brooklyn Playground


By Geoffrey Croft

A 19-year-old male was struck in the head by a large tree branch in a Brooklyn playground, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The incident occurred yesterday at 12:55pm at West Playground on Avenue Z, and West 1st Street near Coney Island.

The teen was transported bleeding with "multiple trauma" injuries to Coney Island Hospital according to EMS.

The incident occurred just two days after two young boys were struck by a tree branch in the Bronx.

On June 15, a tree branch fell on a 65-year-old man in Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan causing lacerations to his leg. 

NYC Park Advocates has been calling for a dramatic increase in tree inspections by licensed professionals and a budget allocation for tree maintenance. The taxpayers are being forced to spend money on settlements as a result of tree injuries instead of preventing the accidents from happening in the first place.  

A tree reporting bill (S1028) sponsored by State Senator Tony Avella has stalled in the Senate. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NYPD Installs Watchtower In Tompkins Square Park

The Police Department erected a portable SkyWatch observation tower in Tompkins Square Park yesterday. Recent news reports have focused on homeless activity in the famed East Village park.   (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


By Geoffrey Croft

The Police Department has deployed a portable SkyWatch observation tower in Tompkins Square Park, NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

The tower was erected yesterday as a "deterrent" according to several officers familiar with the move.

The deployment comes after several high ranking city officials including Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited the park recently after news outlets reported an uptick in the number of homeless activities in the East Village park.  

The SkyWatch towers, manufactured by Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR) Security Systems,  have four digital cameras including HD,  thermal,  and infrared which allow police to monitor and record surveillance footage.  The tower also has a high-powered spotlight and various sensors. 

The two story tall tower is a portable surveillance system that allows an officer a high vantage point to observe activity.  The machine collapses and can easily be moved to various locations.  

Yesterday a number of homeless people could be found throughout the park.   A large contingency occupied a number of benches on park's south-west end and were seen smoking, drinking and sleeping. 

Yesterday a homeless couple had three large dogs in an area that is off-limits to canines.   Just five Park Enforcement Patrol officers, plus two supervisors cover hundreds of park properties in Manhattan South - from 59th Street to the tip of the island. The City hired no additional PEP officers in the recently passed budget.    

The park's bathrooms remain a constant source of dangerous activity according to several city employees. 

Shooting drugs, finding used and unused hypodermic needles, stealing liquid soap, and having sex are the main bathroom complaints. 

"Would I want my kids in the park? Absolutely not,"  said a parks worker.

"It's a shame because it's a beautiful park. Tourists also come here. No one should have to be subjected to this. We don't have the people (personnel) we need."

Tompkins Square Park isn't the only area park with homeless conditions - several other downtown Manhattan parks including Washington Square and Union Square Parks also remain problematic. 

A few weeks ago the Mayor and City Council passed another embarrassing parks budget which allocates just  $  354,761 million in city funds out of an overall $ 78.5 billion budget for the Parks Department,  an agency responsible for 14% of the city's land. 

That is less than one half of one percent  (0.45%) of the budget allocated to maintain more than 29,000 acres of city park land. 

Just five Park Enforcement Patrol officers, plus two supervisors are assigned to cover hundreds of park properties located in Manhattan South - from 59th Street to the tip of the island. The City hired no additional officers in the recently passed budget.  

Despite the best efforts of park employees certain park users continue to reach in and turn on the water which causes unsanitary and unsafe park conditions.   

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ferry Point Park Bat Beating Attack As Park Crime Intensifies


By Geoffrey Croft

Police are investigating an incident involving a 19-year-old Bronx man who claims he was attacked inside Ferry Point Park, adjacent to Donald Trumps new Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The man told police he was walking through Ferry Point Park West about 8 p.m. Sunday night when he was attacked and struck in the head several times with a baseball bat.

EMS transported the victim to Jacobi hospital where he was treated for cuts and bruises.

Park patrons notified PEP officers of the assault.

The victim was clearly intoxicated and very uncooperative, according to the police. 

The park is located between Schley Ave. and the Hutchinson River Parkway and is one of the city's worst maintained parks. 

Every single park safety light has been abandoned the park has no bathrooms and the feilds are dangerious.

In shart contrast, Ferry Point West is adjacent to Donald Trumps's new luxurious tax-payer funded Ferry Point golf course which is located in another section of the park.

A few hours later six people were shot in Franz Sigel Park at E. 153rd St. and the Grand Concourse early Monday morning.

On Saturday night six teens tried to rob a  77-year-old man in Central Park at gunpoint.

Homeless Man Attacks Man With Pipe Striking Him In Eye In Flushing Meadows Corona Park


By Geoffrey Croft

A homeless man with an active criminal past violently attacked another homeless man with a pipe in Flushing Meadows Corona Park NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Jose Gomez, 40, attacked and struck a fellow homeless man 47, with a metal pipe, hitting the man in the right eye, police said. 

The incident occurred inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park at 11 am. on July 14th outside  the Ederle men's bathroom near 48th Avenue and 111th Street. Police responded to a report of an assault and found Gomez after canvassing the park. 

Police recovered the metal pipe.   

The victim was taken to Elmhurst where he was treated for a facial injury.  

Gomez was arrested and charged with assault, weapons possession and disorderly conduct.    He was arraigned on the 14th on $1,000 bond/$500 cash.  An order of protection was also issued. He is due back in court on September 23th.

Gomez had three open warrants at the times of his arrest.

The incident occurred while Gomez was awaiting sentencing for another area crime.

On April 10th Gomez was arrested for stealing side view mirrors and hubcaps from numerous cars including a Lexus and BMW. 

Police caught up to Gomez and a colleague, Vincenti Cornelio, 26,  pushing a shopping cart full of stolen items near 102-40 62 Avenue at 3:00 a.m.  Eight hubcaps and ten side view mirrors were recovered. Police also recovered a knife and screwdrivers. 

Gomez was charged with six counts of auto stripping,  six counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle,  six counts of criminal possession of stolen property and one court of possession of burglars tools.  

He was arraigned on April 10th on $4, 000 bond and $1, 500 cash. He didn't make bail but pleaded guilty on April 24th and was released. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30th.

On April 4th Gomez and colleague Salazar German, 31,  were arrested for stealing an air conditioner from a house on 110th street, two blocks away from the  Flushing Meadows Corona Park park near Forest Hills High School in the  112 Pct.   He was charged with  petit larceny,  criminal trespass and possession of stolen property. 

He has also been summoned several times for public drinking.

Tree Branch Injuries Two Kids, ages 9 and 8, In Bronx Playground


Two young boys playfully filling water balloons in Bronx River Park on Monday were suddenly clobbered by a falling tree branch — one so hard his “head caved in” cops and family said, according to the New York Daily News.  

Jhostin and Edward Reyes, ages 9 and 8, were hanging out near a park playground in the park at E. 180th St. and Boston Road in West Farms when there was a resounding crack and the boys were walloped by the plummeting limb around 3:30 p.m., police and witnesses said. 

The boys were dazed and bloody as emergency workers arrived. 

 “(Jhostin's) head caved in. It hit him that hard,” said the boy's uncle Roberto Hernandez, 18. 

The children were taken to Jacobi Medical Center, both conscious and alert, cops said. Family said Jhostin, whose leg was also broken, was in intensive care with an apparent skull fracture.  

Police said both boys were in stable condition.  

“He was crying and kept saying, ‘Why’d this happen to me? Why’d this happen to me?” Zulanlly Luna, 23, the boys’ aunt said of Jhostin.  Edward suffered bumps and bruises from the foot-thick oak branch, which was at least 10 feet long, police sources said.

“That should’ve been a wakeup call to check the other trees,” said Luna, who remained near the scene of the injury as parks workers closed off the area around where the branch fell.

Several precarious boughs hung near the playground in the park on Monday, leaving parents wondering if the incident would repeat itself on another day when such a thing could happen again. 

 “That’s dangerous. Any one of our kids coulda got hurt,” said Takasha Ross, 25, of Parkchester, who had come to the park with her kids, ages 1 and 6. “At least trim the old branches.”  

The FDNY and Parks Department were on scene removing the branch late Monday in a closed-off portion of the park.  

“Parks is investigating the tree and has closed the playground pending the results,” a parks spokesman said in a statement.

Read More:

New York Daily News - July 20, 2015