Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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)


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 

1 comment: