Monday, December 21, 2015

Police Catch Man With Two Loaded Hand Guns In Queens Park

Queens

By Geoffrey Croft

Police made a disturbing discovery yesterday in a Queens park, NYC Park Advocates has learned.  

Yesterday police spotted Oscar Mendez 25, acting suspiciously inside Maple Playground near Maple Avenue and Kissenna Blvd around 4:30pm.

They stopped and questioned him.  While searching the Queens resident they discovered he was carrying a concealed Jennings .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a Bursar 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, both loaded.

He was charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon,  a Class "C" felony.


UPDATE: Man Shot Inside Devoe Park Apparently Drug Related





Police have identified the man who was fatally shot inside of Devoe Park on Sunday as Albendris Nunez, 21,  a Manhattan resident who was murdered in an apparent drug related incident. On Sunday the NYPD's Crime Scene Unit worked in Devoe Park.  (Photos:Geofrey Croft/NYC PArk Advocates) 

Bronx 

By Geoffrey Croft

Additional details are emerging from yesterday's homicide in Devoe Park.

Police now say that the victim was shot inside the park in what appears to be a drug related incident.

Manhattan resident Albendris Nunez, 21 was found face down on the sidewalk adjacent to the park on University Avenue yesterday morning at approximately 9:20am.

Video shows the victim running out of the park southbound on University Avenue towards E. Fordham Road and collapsing on the sidewalk according to a law enforcement source. 

The victim was carrying four sandwich bags of what appeared to be marijuana according to the source.

EMS responded to a 911 call and found the man face down, unconscious with a bullet wound to the lower back.  They transported Nunez to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead twenty-five minutes later.

According to authorities he was arrested for drug-dealing in August 2013 and again on December 11th for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, a felony drug charge.  He also has a number of arrests that are sealed.   

The incident occured within the confines of the 52nd Precinct.



The victim's blood on the sidewalk. 

Read More:

Man found Shot Dead Outside Dovoe Park In The Bronx
A Walk In The Park - December 20, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft

Man found Shot Dead Outside Dovoe Park In The Bronx



























THE NYPD's Crime Scene Unit Sunday in Devoe Park.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

Bronx

By Geoffrey Croft

The body of a 21-year-old hispanic male was discovered Sunday morning on the sidewalk outside of Devoe Park on University Avenue near E. Fordham Road. 

Police arrived to the find the male unconscious with a gunshot wound to his back.

EMS transported the man to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  

Police have not yet released his name.  No arrests have been made.


The victim's blood on the sidewalk. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Woman Raped In Highbridge Park

Manhattan

A female Hispanic 35, reported she was raped by two unknown male Hispanics inside Highbridge Park last night, NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

The woman reported the incident occured inside the park near West 177th Street and Amsterdam Avenue at 10:00pm within the confines of the 33 Pct.

Manhattan Special Victims is investigating. 

- Geoffrey Croft

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Park Crime: 541 People Victims Of Violent Crimes Over Twelve Month Period


Violent Spaces.   Five hundred and thirteen people were robbed or assaulted in city parks over the last twelve months.   Another  21 people were raped or murdered.  There were 991 reported park crimes in total.  The NYPD is now compiling crime data from 1,155 park properties, up from 31 parks.   (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

City-Wide

By Geoffrey Croft


More than 540 people were victims of violent crimes in city parks over the last twelve months NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Seven people were murdered, 14 were raped, 313 people were robbed, and 195 were victims of felony assaults.  A total of 912 crimes were reported in the seven Major Crime Complaints category according to the latest city-wide park crime figures compiled by the NYPD and analyzed by NYC Park Advocates.

The statistics cover a twelve month period from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. 

The newly released figures do not include reported crimes in Central Park which are recorded under its own patrol precinct.   Central Park reported two rapes, 27 robberies,  four felony assaults among the 79  recorded crimes during the same twelve month period.   When Central Park figures are combined there were 16 rapes, 340 robberies,  and 199 felony assaults city-wide. 

In total there were 991crimes recorded in city parks over the last twelve months.

Click on graphs to enlarge


The striking figures come from the latest crime data tracked by the NYPD under a 2014 law.    The NYPD is now compiling crime data from 1,155 park properties, up from just 31 parks police began tracking in 2008. 

Violent crimes in parks city-wide increased over the same third quarter period compared to last year.
Excluding Central Park,  Murder was up 300 percent,  Robberies up 17.82 percent, and Felony Assaults increased by 29.17 percent.

Manhattan parks had the greatest number of recorded crimes with a total of 331,  followed by Brooklyn, 246,  Bronx 228, Queens 174,  followed by a distant Staten Island with 12 crimes. 

The top five parks accounted for more than twenty-two percent of total crime in parks over the last twelve months.   

Crime has remained a persistent problem in several parks, including Central and Riverside in Manhattan, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, and Crotona in the Bronx since police began tracking crime data on a limited basis almost a decade ago.   This year St. Nicholas Park in upper Manhattan rounded out the top five most violent parks in the city with 16 incidents.  

As usual Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens led the city in total crime outside of Central Park.  The park reported 48 total crimes, including 2 rapes, 6 robberies, 10 felony assaults, 5 burglaries, 44 grand larcenies, and 1 grand larceny of a motor vehicle. 

Four of the seven people murdered were in Bronx parks.  Several Bronx parklands were crime hot spots including Crotona Park with 25 crimes including 6 robberies and 4 felony assaults.  Claremont Park had 17 total crimes including 4 robberies and 10 felony assaults,  Williamsbridge Oval had 9 robberies and 5 felony assaults,  and Mullaly Park had 14 total crimes including 7 robberies and 1 felony assault.


3rd Quarter Park Crime Comparisons


2014 (3rd Quarter)   Murder - 0  Rape - 5 Robbery - 101  Felony Assault - 72  Burglary-15 Grand Larceny - 236 Grand Larceny Of Motor Vehicle  3 
2015 (3rd Quarter)   Murder - 3  Rape - 4 Robbery - 119  Felony Assault - 93  Burglary - 6  Grand Larceny -164 Grand Larceny Of Motor Vehicle  2

* Excluding Central Park












Click on graphs to enlarge



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Central Park: Teens Rob Two Women At Gunpoint At Reservoir


Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

Two woman walking along the reservoir were robbed at gunpoint last night.

The victims, a Manhattan resident age 45, and a friend visiting from out-of-town, 26,  were walking northbound on the jogging path near W. 90st Street at around 11:45pm when they were approached by four black males who began talking to them.   

Moments later two of the assailants pulled out handguns and demanded their purses.

The suspects grabbed the purses and fled southbound along the jogging path. 

The victims exited the park and asked a doorman on Central Park West to call 911. 

Police searched the area with a helicopter and canines according to authorities. 

The four suspects are described between the ages of 14 and 17-years old. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Michael Van Valkenburgh Sued For "Malpractice" Over Dangerous Brooklyn Bridge Park Lighting Design

"MVVA was careless, failed to use reasonable and customary care, departed from accepted practice, and failed to perform services in accordance with professional standards, and therefore committed professional malpractice in its design and in its construction supervision of the Shade Sail Structures"   - Lawsuit

 Brooklyn Bridge Park is suing two firms it says designed faulty shade devices and light poles at Pier 5.

Endangering The Public. Brooklyn Bridge Park designer Michael Van Valkenburgh (MVVA) is being sued again by the City this time over faulty designed light poles and shade sails installed at Pier 5’s soccer field in December 2012.  The items were designed to withstand 100 mph winds or more but they were destroyed eight days after the field’s opening by less strong winds, "as a result of defective design and construction supervision by MVVA," according to the lawsuit.  This is at least the second time Van Valkenburgh has been named in a suit by the City involving dangerous Brooklyn Bridge Park designs.  (Image: DNAinfo)


Brooklyn

By Geoffrey Croft

The honeymoon is apparently over between the  Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation and the park's private designer, Michael Van Valkenburgh Landscape Architects, (MVVA).
  
The City, on behalf of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBP) is suing the firm  over faulty designed light poles and shade sails installed at Pier 5’s soccer field in December 2012.      The suit was first reported by DNAinfo. 

The light poles and shade devices were supposedly designed to withstand 100 mile per hour winds or more, but they were destroyed eight days after the field’s opening by 75 mph winds,  "as a result of defective design and construction supervision by MVVA," according to the lawsuit. 

"the design proved to incapable of with standing even much lower winds," the suit contends. 

MVVA was responsible for the feasibility analysis, design, and construction support services for the Shade Sail Structures.    

A second company,  HNTB Corporation, an engineering firm is also named in the suit. 

The lawsuit states that BBP had repeated meetings and communications with MVVA and HNTB concerning the design and construction of the Shade Sail Structures. At these meetings, BBP, MVVA and HNTB repeatedly discussed the need to produce a design that was capable of withstanding foreseeable wind conditions of 100 miles per hour or more. 

The suit was filed on November 27th and seeks $1,294,931 in damages and aims to "recover damages suffered by BBP as a result of defective design and construction supervision by MVVA."

The City's Corporation Counsel is suing on behalf of the plaintiff, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation contracted with MVVA to design the park including the construction of the Shade Sail structures at Pier 5 in the park.  MVVA subcontracted the work out to HNTB to design the structures. 

"As a result of MVVA’s and HNTB’s contractual and professional  failures, the Shade Sail Structures had to be substantially redesigned and rebuilt, at great cost to BBP." 

BBP asked MVVA to design and oversee the construction of overhead lighting and subsequently asked it to modify the design to provide shade on the Pier 5 playing field.

The suit does not mention however why they hired a landscape architecture firm for such work. 

After the malfunction of the Shade Sails, the Park conducted a Structural Peer Review of the design which concluded that there were " fundamental flaws in HNTB’s design of the Shade Sails…. Specifically, the tie rods, the light  poles, base plate and reinforced concrete foundations were each inadequate as a matter of design to withstand 100 mile per hour winds."

So basically everything. 

When the Park asked HNTB to fix the damage to the Shade Sails, "HNTB no longer stood behind its own original design," the suit states. 

This is at least the second time Van Valkenburgh Associates have been named in a suit by the City involving dangerous Brooklyn Bridge Park designs.  

Within a few weeks of the opening of the playground at Pier 1 the park was forced to remove irresponsibly designed metal orbs after they were found to be burning children including  thirteen-month-old Paula Sporlar who suffered second degree burns.   

Two years later tax payers shelled out $ 17,500 to the Sporlar family for her injuries. 

During the suit the city tried to shift blame to the playground designer by filing a third-party suit against Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates claiming that any negligence was the designer’s fault. The judge ordered the city and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation to pay the settlement.

No word if those funds were ever recovered from MVVA.    

April 7, 2010. The controversial metal domes in Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 Playground are covered up after several children are injured including thirteen-month-old Paula Sporlar who suffered second degree burns.  The irresponsibly designed domes were soon removed. Tax payers shelled out  $ 17,500 to the Sporlar family for her injuries. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)


Kira Foley, 5, broke her nose and lost a tooth while playing on metal domes at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Not Just The Heat. Kira Foley, 5½, smashed her nose and lost a tooth playing on the metal domes within five minutes of the playground's opening on March 22, 2010.


A week after the Brooklyn Bridge Park incidents the city was forced to caution off a larger version of the metal dome in the newly opened Michael Van Valkenburgh designed Evelyn's Playground Union Square Park because children were also getting burned.  The "play feature" structure was closed off for months.  A massive green awning was finally installed above the six-foot high steel climbing dome at a reported cost of $ 100,000.   Several people have been injured on the climbing orb since it opened.

Evelyn's Playground is at the top of City Comptroller Scott Stringer playground-related personal injury claims report where at least 11 children and a mother were hurt. 

Why is a landscape architect firm being allowed to design playgrounds on goverment properties?  Hadn't anyone seen the multi-million dollar disastrous Teardrop Park in Battery Park City?  


Same Designer, Same Problem.  May 1, 2010.  Evelyn's Playground.  A week after the Brooklyn Bridge Park incidents the city was forced to close off the giant silver dome in Union Square Park because children were getting burned.  A massive green awning was installed at a reported cost of $ 100,000. Several people have been injured on the Union Square climbing "play feature" structure.   (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

The Union Square Partnership BID hired the landscape architect firm to redesign the playground for some reason.  





Read More:

DNAinfo - December 4, 2015 - By Alexandra Leon


City Forced To Pay Family Of 1-Year-Old Burned In Brooklyn Bridge Park Playground
A Walk In The Park - October 25, 2012 


A Walk In The Park - July 1, 2010

A Walk In The Park - May 24, 2010 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - June 29, 2010






Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Police Fire On Suspect In Brooklyn Park


Brooklyn

By Geoffrey Croft

Narcotics officers working in East New York heard shots fired in a nearby park this evening. 

When they arrived at Railroad Park to investigate they saw two black males, one of them had a firearm.  

As the officers were exiting their car one of the assailants turned and pointed a gun at them, according to police.   Police fired several rounds at the suspect.

It is unknown at this time if he was shot.

It is under investigation whether the assailant discharged his weapon at the officers. 

The suspects fled into a nearby residents near E. 92nd Street and Ave B.

One of the suspects,  a 24-year-old, was taken into custody.  The gunman fled the scene.

The officers  were taken to Methodist Hospital and treated for tinnitus - a ringing or buzzing in the ears -   result of the gunshot discharges.



Christmas Tree Lighting At Ciccarone Park Canceled Due To Vagrants - Apparently Parks Dept. Resources Are Not Available To Keep Park Secure

 Vincent Ciccarone Playground, just off Arthur Avenue, is usually home to a Christmas tree.  Not this year.

Vincent Ciccarone Playground on E. 188 St bet. Arthur and Hughes Avenues is usually home to a Christmas tree. Not this year due to a lack of Parks Department resources in keeping the park secure.   Mayor De blasio said the issue was, "three homeless individuals along the Arthur Avenue strip who’ve been a problem."(Photo: Megan Cerullo/DNAinfo)

Bronx 


Vagrants are urinating in the street, hassling passers-by for cash — and now they’ve ruined Christmas in The Bronx, according to a front page story in the NY Post.   

The annual outdoor Christmas tree lighting in the borough’s famed Little Italy section was canceled because the soaring panhandler population forced the sponsors to spend so much on security that there was no cash left for the celebration.

“It’s unfortunate,” Frank Franz, treasurer of the Belmont Business Improvement District, told The Post.

“It was a very expensive event, so we canceled it.”  


Bums declare war on Christmas
The annual Christmas tree lighting at Ciccarone Park in The Bronx had to be canceled this year. Photo: Facebook / James Messerschmidt


The BID, he said, had to weigh the price of public safety against that of the holiday festivities, which cost about $15,000.

 “Every neighborhood should be concerned about the safety and the quality of life of their neighborhood. There’s always been homeless around, but now you’re seeing an increase all over the city,” he said about the sharp rise of aggressive panhandlers.

One business owner, Rosa Paciullo, who for 20 years has owned Tino’s Delicatessen with her husband, Giancarlo, said bums even used the Vincent Ciccarone Playground where the lighting was held as a public toilet.

“My daughter took her daughter to the [Ciccarone] park and a homeless guy peed in front of them. Some of them would come in and ask for money or food. It scared some of the customers away,” she added.

Franz said the BID had to hire added security over the summer to keep the area safe for shoppers and merchants.  The tree lighting had been celebrated in the playground on ­Arthur Avenue for at least four years, and drew hundreds to the shops and restaurants in one of the borough’s main tourist ­attractions.

Other merchants said Friday they were disappointed that the popular outdoor lighting won’t take place — even though an indoor lighting is planned for Thursday at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, featuring Bronx-born “Sopranos” star Dominic “Junior” Chianese singing and signing autographs.

 “I think it’s terrible” the outdoor lighting was canceled, said Michael Teitel, whose father owns Teitel Brothers specialty food importers, an Arthur Avenue institution for a century.

“They started a tradition and they should keep it going. It’s heartbreaking for kids. I got kids. I’m still a kid,” he said.

Read More:


De Blasio Blames 3 Homeless People for Canceled Arthur Ave. Tree Lighting
DNAinfo - November 30, 2015 - By Jeff Mays and Eddie Small 
WABC -  By Joe Torres  November 30, 2015

Bums declare war on Christmas
New York Post - November 27, 2015 - By Kevin Fasick and Bob Fredericks 

Arthur Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting Canceled Amid Homeless Surge  
DNAinfo - November 27, 2015  - By Megan Cerullo 





Monday, November 30, 2015

500 Bags Of Heroin Found In Bronx Park









































Parks Department workers found more than five hundred glassine bags or "decks," of heroin inside University Woods Park.   The drugs, along with phones and a box cutter were collected by law enforcement at the scene.  (Click on images to enlarge)

Bronx

By Geoffrey Croft

Park workers cleaning up a Bronx park made a startling discovery, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Employees found more than 500 glassine bags filled with heroin hidden under tree branches, leaves and covered over with rice according to law enforcement sources.  The rice is used to keep the heroin powder free of moisture.  Two cell phones, most likly "burner" phones, and a box cutter were also recovered.

The narcotics stash was discovered in University Woods Park in the University Heights neighborhood yesterday afternoon.       

The notorious three acre woodland park located between Cedar & Sedgwick Avenues has long been a dumping ground due to a lack of dedicated maintenance and staffing from the city.

Police from the 52 Pct. took possession of the alleged narcotics. 

The narcotics were found hidden under rice. 




Read More:


CBS - November 30, 2015   

New York Post - November 30, 2015  - By Daniel Prendergast 

News12 Bronx - November 30, 2015

Pix11 - December 1, 2015 -  By Allison Yang 

New York Daily News - December 1, 2015  - By Ryan Sit  

gothamist -  December  1, 2015 - By Emma Whitford  




Sunday, November 29, 2015

21-Year-Old Stabbed In Bronx Playground


Bronx

A 21-year-old male was stabbed in the back on the handball courts of a Bronx playground NYC Park Advocates has learned.  

Two people were seen arguing when the assailant displayed a knife and stabbed the victim, according to police.  

EMS transported the victim to Jacobi Medical Center in stable condition.

The incident occurred yesterday in Colucci Playground at Mulford & Wilkinson Avenues at approximately 2:15pm within the confines of the 45th Pct.  

The suspect is known to the victim.

No arrests have made. 


- Geoffrey Croft

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jogger, 26 Raped & Robbed In East River Park


Manhattan

Police are investigating the reported rape of a 26-year-old woman in a lower East Side park near the Williamsburg Bridge on Wednesday night.

The woman was jogging in East River Park when she was acosted by a man and dragged to the amphitheater in the park near Jackson Street, around 7:30 pm.  The woman told police she was raped, and robbed of her cell phone and credit cards, according to law enforcement sources.

The assailant fled on a bicycle.

On July 28th, a 41-year-old woman was raped in the park. 

- Geoffrey Croft

Parks Worker Assaults Park Officer Over Illegal Vendor Arrest























Royan Mitchell, 36 under arrest at Pier 15 at the South Street Seaport under the East River Drive.  Moments later a parks M & O worker got involved with the PEP officers.  Mitchell has been arrested at least 32 times.


Manhattan

By Geoffrey Croft

Parks Department maintenance workers attempted to prevent Parks Enforcement Patrol officers from arresting a violent career criminal NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The bizarre incident occurred yesterday at 1:45 pm. at Pier 15 at the South Street Seaport.
On November 11th, Royan Mitchell, 36, was observed by attempting to sell tickets to the Hornblower Cruises,  when park police approached him he fled.  

Yesterday, officers observed him again illegally soliciting at the same location.  While attempting to make an arrest, he resisted, at which time approximately six parks department M & O maintenance workers from Pier 15 surrounded the officers and tried to prevent them from arresting the vendor.  


Parks Department Maintaincence & Operation worker Sandra Knight, 53,  was suspended and issued three Criminal Court summons for her involvement in interfering in the arrest of career criminal Royan Mitchell at Pier 15 for illegal vending. 



"They were trying to fight us off," said an officer at the scene.  

"They were cursing at us, and trying to prevent him from being locked up. They were acting like animals." 

Officers said one park worker in particular, Sandra Knight, 53, became aggressive. They say she pushed the officers several times, yelling and screaming.

"She came out of nowhere fighting us,"  an officer said.

Officers say Knight was repeatedly told to back away from the vendor who officers eventually managed to put in handcuffs. Video shows her rushing towards the officers getting within inches, saying, "You got me, you got me." 

Officers can be heard telling her to back away.


video



Knight elbowed officer Ingrid Sanchez in the face, breaking her glasses when officers attempted to move her away from Mitchell who was still on the floor.  

Officers told her she would be placed under arrest. 

"Don't touch me, don't touch me," she yells over and over. 

Her colleagues are heard saying, "Don't do it Sandra." 

Officers can be heard saying repeatedly,  "Stop resisting Sandra, stop resisting."

Officers say Parks' Chief of Operations, Namshik Yoon, came down to the 1st Pct and intervened on the maintenance worker's behalf.  Instead of being charged with Resisting Arrest and Assault on a Peace Officer and face possible jail time,  the charges were downgraded.   

Sandra Knight was instead issued three Criminal Court summons - Disorderly Conduct, Failure to Comply with Directives of Officer, and Obstruction of Government Administration. 

The Parks Department suspended Knight.  

Royan Mitchell, 36  was charged with Resisting Arrest,  Disorderly Conduct,  Soliciting on Parks Property without a Parks' permit. 

He has been arrested at least 32 times according to law enforcement sources.  On June 18th  Mitchell arrested in a fast food restaurant in the 25 Pct. for repeatedly striking a person. Drugs were also found on his possession. 

The officer was treated at Presbyterian Hospital for minor injuries and released. 

Read More:

Parks staffer arrested after brawling with cops 
New York Post - November 27, 2015 - By Rich Calder and Tina Moore 

Parks Worker Allegedly Elbowed Parks Officer In The Face For 
Arresting Illegal Ticket Vendor
gothamist - November 27, 2015 -   By Emma Whitford



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chinese Tree Victim Killed By Negligent Park's Dept. Contractor Laid To Rest



Jing Liu's widow breaks down outside the Wah Wing Sang Funeral home in Chinatown earlier today as she watched her husband's casket being led away. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

City-Wide

By Geoffrey Croft

The beloved Chinese food delivery man killed by a negligent Park's Dept. contractor was laid to rest today.


Jing Liu's name hand written in Mandarin Chinese in the window of the hearse. 


His devastated widow broke down as she watched her husband's casket being led away to the hearse outside of the funeral home on Mulberry Street in Chinatown.

The small service was attended by close families and friends. 



Last week Jing Liu, 48, was riding through Coffey Park in Brooklyn making a delivery when a large London Plane tree suddenly came crashing down.

The Park Department contractor, Carlstadt, N.J.- based RML Construction violated basic safety protocols while working in the Redhook Brooklyn park.      Standard safety protocols require maintaining a safe work zone with cones, caution tape and workers on the ground to flag approaching pedestrians, which were not adhered to.  

The company also violated the terms of its contact with the Parks Department by only having two of the four personnel required for tree removals as per the Tree Removal Item Specifications.

The"pruner" from RML Construction speaks with an FDNY Captain at the scene of incident on November 18th.  (Photo: Todd Maisel/NY Daily News)


It is well known that Parks Forestry division contracts tree trimming workers that are not certified arborists.  The two employees were not certified arborists. The Parks Department counters that International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification is not a requirement for this type of work. 

The Parks Department has suspended all contracts held by RML Construction. The company began working with the Parks Department on tree removals in  2014. 

The tree that killed Mr. was deemed removable by the Parks Department in at least July 2015.  

The City's DPR's Trees and Sidewalk Program budget is a paltry $6 million a year, up from $3 million last year.  

More than a dozen people have been struck by falling trees/limbs this year alone. 

The city has paid out $21.6 million in tree related death and injury cases 
in four recent settlements.





The body of  Jing Liu leaves the funeral home this afternoon in Chinatown. 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park  November 18, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mullaly Park: Military Weapons Stolen From Massachusetts Armory Break-in Recovered

UPDATE

Bronx

By Geoffrey Croft

A park goer told police he found a duffle bag full of guns inside a Bronx park by Yankee Stadium, NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

The man found the weapons inside Mullaly Park near Yankee Stadium around noon on Friday according to police.

Inside the bag were two Sig Sauer P228  9mm pistols and one M-4 automatic assault rifle.

The man walked across the Macombs Dam Bridge into Manhattan into NYPD housing PSA 6 and told police that he found the bag inside the park.

The guns appear to be military hardware connected to the Armory heist on Saturday at a Worcester Massachusetts army reserve center where more than a dozen military weapons were found missing after an overnight break-in. The armory's missing weapons included six M4 assault rifles, 10 pistols, and several long guns.

The FBI  took possestion of the weapons according to police and are trying to determine how the weapons ended up in the Bronx. 

A 34-year-old Bronx native and former Army reservist was arrested on Thursday on Long Island in connection with the weapons theft.  The suspect, James Walker Morales, was out on bail on a child rape charge at the time of his arrest. 

Mayor DeBlasio was a block away at Joyce Killmer park for a million tree event a half hour before the weapons discovery was made.

Read More:

Homeless hero turns in duffel bag filled with military weapons
New York Post - By Shawn Cohen and Larry Celona November 21, 2015





Friday, November 20, 2015

Taking No Questions Mayor DeBlasio Celebrates One Millionth Tree Planting



Mayor Bill de Blasio at this morning's press conferance celebrating the planting of the 1,017,634, tree in Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx,  as part of the MillionTreesNYC.  The Mayor was joined by, (from left) Deborah Marton, Bette Midler,  former Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Mark Levine,  City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Parks Commissinor Mitchell Silver,  and Congressman Jose Serrano.

The MillionTrees initiative has been plagued by a host of issues including poor management and oversight critics say.  The Mayor refused to answer a single question at the event. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

City-Wide

By Geoffrey Croft

Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the planting of the 1,017,634, tree this morning in Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx,  as part of the MillionTreesNYC.

The Mayor was joined by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Restoration Project’s Bette Midler who launched the Million Trees program in 2007.  

"We're not stopping," the Mayor pledged.  "There will be 150,000 trees planted over the next three years to continue this tradition."

The much-maligned program has been criticized over the years for a host of reasons:  Critics question the sense of planting new trees when the elected officials allocate only a fraction of the funds needed to care for the millions of already existing trees;  the improper installation/planting of the trees;  the lack of community-based planning and consultation regarding where the trees were planted; the lack of oversight; mortality rate; as well as the adoption rate of the trees which is a major component of the program.  

The program also displaced the Parks Department's public research library at the agency's 5th Avenue headquarters.

De blasio did not stick around to answer questions however.  The Mayor made a hasty exit out of the park after the last photo-op followed by pack of media trying in vein to ask questions.  

Like many of Mayor Bloomberg's "environmental" initiatives  Million Trees was viewed by many more for its PR value for than as a viable, sustainable program.  His PlaNYC program  was flush with capital spending but funding to maintain these new projects were largely absent.


Bette Midler got a hug, and later a kiss from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who both launched the Million Trees program in 2007.  


Bloomberg reminded the crowd that the original event scheduled for October 21 was canceled  due to the tragic murder of police officer Randolph Holder the night before.

The Parks Department planted 750, 000 of the trees - 495,000 were planted in parkland and the remaining 155, 000 going to streets.  The remaining trees were planted by New York Restoration Project.


Flanked by aids, his security detail and the media, Mayor DeBlasio, makes a hasty exit out of the park without answering a single question at the event.


A member of the Mayor's security detail keeps a close watch over the one millionth planted tree.    (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.

One Million Trees: Planting Breakdown
Number of Trees Planted by Borough:
•   Bronx – 276,600
•   Brooklyn – 182,593
•   Manhattan – 80,016
•   Queens – 284,755
•   Staten Island – 173,134
•   (Borough unknown) – 2,902
Number of Trees Planted by Type:
•   Street trees: 155,000 (+ 2,020 since planting of the Millionth Tree)
•   NYC Park Trees: 595,000 (+ 15,614 since planting of the Millionth Tree)
•   Private and other open space: 250,000