Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Man Arrested For Forcibly Touching 12-Year-Old Girl In Sunset Pool

This afternoon NYPD arrested a 17- year-old male for forcibly touching a 12-year-old female in the Sunset Park Pool in Brooklyn. The alleged incident happened at approx. 2:10pm. 

 - Geoffrey Croft 

Woman Raped In McCarren Park Bathroom

A woman was raped in the McCarren Park bathrooms on June 26th according to a police report.

(Photo: by Bess Adler - The Brooklyn Paper)


McCarren Pape

A man raped a woman in the McCarren Park bathrooms on June 26 — and he remains at large, according to The Brooklyn Paper. 

The victim told cops that she met the perp at the south end of the park, which is at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and N. 12th Street, at about 8:30 pm. She said that the two had been drinking for a while, before the cretin brought her into the bathroom at the north end of the park and forced her to have sex with him.

Police Blotter

Police Blotter

The Brooklyn Paper - June 30, 2010 -  BY ANDY CAMPBELL

Brooklyn Judge Orders City To Comply With Law Re: Amplified Sound In Asser Levy Park

Asser Levy/Seaside Park Seaside Summer Concert Series.   A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge today issued a  preliminary injunction requiring the City and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to comply with the 500 foot rule regarding amplified sound.  A lawsuit filed on June 17, charging that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's Seaside Summer Concert Series violates a city law which prohibits amplified sound within 500 feet of  of “a school, courthouse or church, during the hours of school,  court or worship."  Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Congregation Temple Beth Abraham are approximatly 300 feet away.  Plaintiffs charge the concerts have been illegally held in Asser Levy/Seaside Park since its inception in 1991. (File Photo, July 16, 2009 © By Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)  

Press Release




June 30, 2010 

Media Contact:
Geoffrey Croft
NYC Park Advocates
(212) 987-0565
(646) 584-8250 Cell

Brooklyn Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Requiring City to 
Comply with Law Re: Amplified Sound In Asser Levy Park

(June 30, 2010 - Brooklyn)  Today the Honorable Kenneth P. Sherman of Brooklyn Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction requiring the City and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to comply with the 500 foot rule regarding amplified sound.  

The court order states: "It is herby ordered that the preliminary injunction is granted to the extent that defendants are required to comply with the provision of Title 10, Chapter 1, Section 108 (g) of the New York City Administrative Code until such provisions are amended and become effective as a matter of law." 

Last night the City Council passed a bill which would exclude Asser Levy/Seaside Park from the law. The bill to change the law was hastily introduced by Queens Council Member Peter Vallone last week at the request of Mayor Bloomberg. At todays court hearing a representative from the City stated the Mayor was expected to sign the bill on July 12, 2010.  The first Seaside Summer Concert is scheduled for July 15.   

The fast-tracked bill comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed on June 17 to enforce a long-time law prohibiting amplified sound within 500 feet of houses of worship, schools, hospitals, and courthouses. The amendment is a clear end-run around the existing law. 


A lawsuit was filed on June 17, in Brooklyn Supreme Court seeking to prevent the City of New York and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz from violating the NYC Law.  Mr. Markowitz sponsors an annual concert series in Asser Levy/Seaside Park, in Brighton Beach Brooklyn. 

Currently the law forbids amplified concerts within 500 feet of a house of worship, schools, hospitals, and courthouses.  But Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz want to build a $64 million, eight thousand seat amphitheater in Asser Levy/Seaside Park, right across the street from Sea Breeze Jewish Center and Temple Beth Abraham.  In violation of the law, these concerts have coincided with the hours of worship of Plaintiff Congregation Sea Breeze Jewish Center and with the hours of worship of Plaintiff Congregation Temple Beth Abraham. The two synagogues are approx. 300 feet away.

The suit is brought against defendants the City of New York and Brooklyn Borough President, Martin Markowitz, with regard to the violation of Title 10, Chapter 1, Section 10-108 (g) of the New York City Administrative  Code, and Title 38, Chapter 8, Section 8-06 of the Rules and Regulations of the City of New  York (together, the “Code”), which prohibit the use of electronic sound amplification equipment  at any location within 500 feet of  houses of worship during hours of worship.  Plaintiffs are directly and adversely affected by the Defendants’ annual operation of the Parks Department band shell in Asser Levy Park, which comes within 500 feet of Plaintiffs’ houses of worship, as a concert and event venue using electronic  sound amplification equipment.

Electronic sound amplification equipment is used during the concerts in addition to sound-checks and rehearsals. 

Read More: 

New York Times - June 30, 2010 - By Karem Fahim

NY1 News - June 30, 2010 

New York Post -  Brooklyn Blog - June 30, 2010 - By Rich Calder

New York Daily News - June 30, 2010 - By Erin Durkin

A Walk In The Park - June 25, 2010

A Walk In The Park - June 24, 2010

A Walk In The Park - June 17, 2010

Van Valkenburgh's Scalding Domes Removed From Brooklyn Bridge Park

The controversial stainless-steel climbing metal domes in Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 Playground were finally removed on Friday. The domes were covered and kept behind barricades after a thirteen-month-old girl suffered second degree burns on June 15th. Critics have been calling for the removal of the domes since April. (Photo: Benjamin Norman for The New York Times)  


Three silvery domes that had been installed in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park for children to play on — but which instead scorched their young hands — have been removed, according to the New York Times.

In their place on Tuesday evening were an empty plot and two mainstream pieces of playground equipment — one  for climbing and another for sitting in the shade.

Elizabeth Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the Empire State Development Corporation, which oversees the park, located near Brooklyn Heights, said the domes were removed on Friday.

“Last Friday we began the equipment replacement at the Pier 1 playground and the domes were removed that morning,” she said. “They are being replaced (even as we speak!) with a new red house and fairy castle, which are age appropriate for small children.”

Domes of Brooklyn Bridge Park and letter (below) warning about them.

The Domes-Brooklyn Bride Park.  April 6, 2010. Photo: Monaster/NY Daily News

April 7, 2010. Workers install tents over the metal orbs for the first time after people   complained about the heat. (Photos © Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click Image To enlarge.

Brooklyn Bridge Park officials kept telling the media that the tree canopy was eventually going to prevent the children from getting burned on the "play equipment."

Read More:

The Domes Are Gone!
New York Times City Room - June 29, 2010 - By Isolde Raftery

A Walk In The Park - June 18, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

14-Year-Old Drowns At Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway

Scott McLeish, who friend say didn't know how to swim, was swept out to sea Tuesday night.
A 14-year old boy was swept out to sea Tuesday night. Rescue teams searched for the teen. (Photo: Egan-Chin/NY DailyNews)

ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (WPIX) - A 14-year-old boy - identified only as Scott, a freshman at Mill Basin High School in Brooklyn - drowned Tuesday evening at Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, Queens, PIX 11 News has learned.

"He was calling for help, so I tried to go in after him," said the victim's 16-year-old friend Anthony Muskelly. "A wave pushed me back...I tried to go in even further...but a wave kept pushing me back."

Witnesses watched helplessly as the 14-year-old waded into the water up to his neck and got hit with a wave in the back of the head.

"He was on top of me then the waves came and took him," said Devon Humphrey.

Lifeguards at Riis Park finished their shifts at 6 p.m. Police say they got the distress call around 7:20 p.m.

For hours, divers and NYPD choppers searched for the teenager's body -- but to no avail.

Read/View More:

WPIX - June 29, 2010  

New York Daily News - June 29, 2010 - BY Kerry Burke and John Lauinger

Ground Finally Broken at Heritage Field - Spin Continues

Shovel-wielders at Heritage Field include Joba Chamberlain (4th from left), GM Brian Cashman (to right of hurler) and, next to him, Randy Levine and Ruben Diaz Jr. (2nd from r.).
June 29, 2010. Shovel-wielders at Heritage Field include Joba Chamberlain (4th from left), GM Brian Cashman (to right of hurler) and, next to him, Randy Levine and Ruben Diaz Jr. (2nd from r.). Officials finally broke ground on the long delayed building of Heritage Field. The fields were supposed to be completed by 2010. A recently opened skate park was three years behind schedule. City officials are now claiming they are replacing 32 acres of parkland as part of the building for the New Yankee Stadium, when in fact
only 22 acres are being replaced in the community.


City officials on Tuesday participated in the groundbreaking of Heritage Field, the new baseball diamond making up part of the redevelopment of parkland around Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, according to The Epoch Times.

The field is an 11-acre development, headed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, which follows the year-long deconstruction of the old Yankee Stadium as well as other delays that lasted several years. Heritage Field is expected to be completed by late 2011.

When the project is completed, there will be three baseball fields.

In order for the new Yankee Stadium to be constructed, city officials took over 25 acres of park space in the Bronx and under parks regulations, the city had to provide an equivalent amount of space in return.

The city claims that 32 acres of parkland, which includes Heritage Field, Macombs Dam Park, Mill Pond Park, River Avenue Parks, and Ruppert Plaza, will ultimately be developed.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the ongoing revitalization of the South Bronx,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “As promised, we completed the demolition of the old stadium in June, safely and on-budget."

City officials say that the new park is a vast improvement over the previous park. Heritage field boasts a state-of-the-art layout and features “three championship grass ballfields for baseball, softball, and little league, along with event space for track and field competition including discus, shot put, and javelin,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

However, Geoffrey Croft, the president of parks watchdog group NYC Park Advocates Inc., said the city isn't being up-front about the parks. According to a
report released by NYCPA several years ago, only 22 acres are being opened in the neighborhood.

“What they're doing now is trying to claim another five acres and from day one they have not been up-front about the project,” Croft said.

June 29, 2010. Officials finally broke ground on the long delayed building of Heritage Field. (Photo: Marla Diamond/WCBS)

Read More:

Ground Broken at Heritage Field Near Yankee Stadium
Epoch Times - June 29, 2010 - By Jack Phillips

WCBS 880 - June 29, 2010 - By Marla Diamond

New York Daily News - June 30, 2010 - By Mike Jaccarino

Calls For District Attorney Investigation Into Central Park Tree Death

Legendary NBC reporter Gabe Pressman yesturday called on the District Attorney to Investigate the tree death in Central Park. Based on information that has surfaced in at least two of the prior cases within the last year the District Attorney should not be limited to just investigating the most recent tree incident in the park.

Central Park 

"The public has a right to know what’s happening. We need independent scrutiny of the parks. Not finger pointing or shrugging off of responsibility, wrote Gabe Pressman.

Central Park is a magnificent tribute to the vision of its designersFrederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux in the 19th Century. This oasis of natural beauty must be protected at all costs, for the families who enjoy it and for the city it represents.
If there was negligence in this tragedy, the district attorney should be investigating it. Central Park and all our parklands deserve the ultimate protection of the law itself. If there was negligence, it must be exposed and corrected "

Read More: 

NBC New York - June 28, 2010 -  By Gabe Pressman

Monday, June 28, 2010

Who's In Charge of Central Park's "Killer Tree"?

Gianna Ricciutti

6-month-old Gianna Ricciutt was killed on Saturday afternoon in Central Park by a fallen tree branch. 
This  is the second fatality, and the  forth accident caused by a fallen tree branch within the last year at Central Park. On February 25, A 46-year-old father from Brooklyn died when a branch fell and hit him.  On May 31, three people were reportedly hurt when a tree branch fell near 74th Street and the East Drive Central Park.  On July 29 2009, a 33-year-old Google engineer was knocked unconscious sustained brain and spinal injuries after being hit on the head by a rotted tree branch in the park.(Image: Facebook via NY Daily News)


A baby is dead. A mother is hospitalized. And still no one can say who was responsible for maintaining a tree after one of its falling branches struck them at the Central Park Zoo, according to the New York Daily News.

"The investigation as to why the limb fell is ongoing, as is a review of specific responsibility for tree maintenance," Parks Department spokeswoman Vickie Karp said Sunday.

The Central Park Conservancy, which handles tree maintenance in the park, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the zoo, did not respond to messages. The trunk of the tree is on zoo property; the branch fell just outside its gate.

Six-month-old Gianna Ricciutti, thought to be safe in her mother's arms as her father snapped a picture of them, was killed Saturday when a leafy green branch fell near the sea lion exhibit.

Mom Karla DelGallo, 33, of Union CityN.J., was also injured in the accident. She was in stable condition with a head injury at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell.

"The limb was in full leaf and appeared healthy," Karp said.

The leader of a watchdog group long critical of tree maintenance at Central Park said the tragedy should be a wakeup call.

"This is crazy. We really have to be looking at this - it's happening way too much," said Geoffrey Croft, president of the NYC Park Advocates. "We cannot have the public getting killed in the park."

A broken tree limb about 20 feet above the pathway in Central Park.

A broken tree limb about 20 feet above the pathway in Central Park.  The accident occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the promenade just outside the Central Park Zoo's sea lion exhibit behind the Parks Department headquarters. (photo: Siegel for the NY Daily News)

Read More:

New York Daily News - June 28th 2010  - By Ruby Cramer and Helen Kennedy

 WCBS - June 28,  2010  - By Hazel Sanchez

MYFOX -  June 27, 2010 

WPIX - June 27, 2010 

New York Daily News - June 27th 2010 - By Rich Scapiro  

A Walk in The Park - June 26, 2010 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Central Park Tree Branch Kills Girl, Injures Mother

Investigators at the scene of the tragedy.

Investigators at the scene of the tragedy in Central Park this afternoon where a 6-month-old girl, Gianna Riccuitti of Union City, N.J. was killed, and her mother injured after a tree branch fell.  The victims were rushed to Cornell Hospital where the baby girl was pronounced dead on arrival according to published reports. The accident occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. on the promenade just outside the Central Park Zoo's sea lion exhibit behind the Parks Department headquarters.  A nurse visiting from Germany and another bystander performed CPR on the baby. 

This the second fatality caused by a fallen tree branch this year at Central Park. On February 25, A 46-year-old father from Brooklyn died when a branch fell and hit him. On July 29 2009, a 33-year-old Google engineer was knocked unconscious sustained brain and spinal injuries after being hit on the head by a rotted tree branch in the park. (Photos: CATHERINE NANCE/NY POST)

A baby girl was killed and her mother critically injured when a tree branch fell and struck them just outside the Central Park Zoo on Saturday, the police said.

The accident occurred about 1:45 p.m. on the promenade in front of the sea lion exhibit.

The mother, 33, was holding the 6-month-old girl and posing for a photograph taken by her husband when a large branch about 30 feet above them snapped, the police said. The branch struck the woman, and she fell to the ground, her baby in her arms.

The police identified the girl as Gianna Riccuitti of Union City, N.J. They did not release the names of her parents.

Gianna and her mother were taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital. Medics responded at 1:50 p.m., and the woman and baby arrived at the hospital at 2:03 p.m., a Fire Department spokesman said. The baby was pronounced dead, and her mother was reported in critical condition.

The shattered limb of the branch.Snapped Tree Branch

A security guard at the zoo said he heard a loud crack, like a thunderclap, and saw the branch plummet. After the mother fell, members of her family shrieked, the guard said, and her husband began screaming and jumping around. “He was going crazy,” the guard said.

The area was sealed off with police tape, but the zoo remained open. By midafternoon, it was business as usual at the park, with children watching park workers feed fish to the sea lions, steps from the fallen branch.

It was the third time in less than a year that someone had been harmed or killed by a falling tree branch in Central Park.

The 33-year old mother of Gianna Riccuitti being rushed to the hospital.  She was struck by a falling tree branch while holding her baby. (AP Photo/WPIX-TV)

Read More:

Falling Branch Kills Baby at the Central Park Zoo

New York Times - June 26, 2010 -  By Cara Buckley

New York Post - June 26, 2010 By Kelly Magee 

WPIX - June 26,  2010 -  By JEREMY TANNER

NY1 - June 26, 2010

WCBS News - June 26, 2010 - Dave Carlin & Cindy Hsu

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tempers Flare At City Council Hearing On Markowitz's Asser Levy Park Concert Sound Permit Law Amendment

The City Council Committee on Public Safety held a hastily convened public hearing on Friday over a controversial bill to amend a city law which prohibits amplified sound within 500 feet of  of “a school, courthouse or church, during the hours of school,  court or worship."  The Bill was introduced by Peter Vallone (D-Queens)  at the request of Mayor Bloomberg. The legislation, if passed, would allow Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s concerts series in Asser Levy/Seaside Park to continue.  

Proponents of the bill on Friday repeatedly stated that the amendment was necessary in order not to deny,  "hundreds of thousands of people throughout the city," the opportunity to listen to music.  However the City could not provide a single  location besides Asser Levy Park where this amendment would apply. 


Liza Minnelli was just one of the dozens of musical artists who performed for free at the Seaside Summer Concert series over the past 19 years at Coney Island's Asser Levy Park. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz puts the series together.

But what's music to some people's ears is horrible to others. A lawsuit filed just last week by some nearby synagogues is based on a 1935 city code that prohibits sound permits to be issued within 500 feet of places of worship.

"It's a shame. It's a shanda [disgrace]. It's sinful, it's ugly, it's political," said plantiff Arlene Brenner.

City Councilman Peter Vallone sponsored a bill to amend the law for 90 days so the sound permit issue can be studied, and the City Council Committee on Public Safety held a hearing on the matter on Friday.

"You brought to our attention that there's an antiquated law that can be misused to deny hundreds of thousand of people throughout the city to listen to music," said Vallone.

What some saw as a quick fix for concert-goers, others saw as skirting the law.

"What the city is doing here is recognizing there's an illegality and they're legitimizing it, and that is manipulation," said Norman Siegel, the lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Read /View More:

NY 1 News - June 25, 2010 - By Jeanine Ramirez   

But Fight For Continuation Of Free Shows As Part Of Seaside Concert Series
WCBS New - June 25, 2010 - By Dana Tyler