Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Shot, One Killed In Kaiser Park

Emergency personnel treat shooting victim at a part in Coney Island.
Emergency personnel treat shooting victim in Kaiser Park off of Neptune Avenue and W. 29th Street in Coney Island last night. A 25-year-old male was shot in the back and killed by an unknown male at 11:25p.m. in the park's soccer field. He was DOA at Coney Island Hospital.

A second male, 19, was shot in both legs and brought to Lutheran Medical Center.
(Photo: Danny Iudici for New York Daily News)


An outdoor Coney Island, Brooklyn gathering turned deadly Saturday night when a shooter killed one young man and wounded another in Kaiser Park, according to the New York Daily News.

More than 100 people were partying, rapping and socializing on the park's soccer field a just before 11:30 p.m. when 10 to 15 gunshots rang out and sent parents running for their children, witnesses said.

The Brooklyn Seminoles square off against the HC Bounty Hunters on Sunday afternoon on the field where less than 18 hours earlier two men were shot, one fatally. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

Shamar Watts, 25, of Coney Island, was shot in the upper torso and was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital, police said.

A 19-year-old man was also shot in the leg and was taken to Lutheran Medical Center. He is expected to survive, police said, but did not release his name.

"I heard a shot go right over my shoulder," said a man who was in Kaiser Park during the shooting for a baby shower in a picnic area near the soccer field.

The gunman, "shot all the way till he got to the baseball field and kept shooting," the anxious witness said.

A patrol car passes by the soccer/football field in Kaiser Park on Sunday afternoon where two people were shot late Saturday night. Retribution is feared said a police source.

Police were called to control the unruly crowd. Field lights were lit as investigators searched for shell casings on the field, which was left covered with spent bottles of wine, Hennessy cognac and other garbage.

Cops used flashlights to search a playground in the park, which spans Neptune Avenue and 29th to 31st Streets in Coney Island.

Family members of the slain young man, including his mother, embraced and wept outside the emergency entrance to Coney Island Hospital. They declined to comment.

Discarded crime scene tape.

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New York Daily News - July 31st 2011 - By Kerry Wills and Katie Nelson

NY1 News - July 31, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dead Woman Found Floating In Bronx River

A dead woman was found floating in the Bronx River early Saturday morning.

(Photo: Michael Schwartz for New York News)

A dead woman was found floating in the Bronx River alongside Bronx River Park early Saturday morning.


The nude body of a woman was found floating in the Bronx River early Saturday, not far from a park that runs along the shoreline, police said, according to the New York Daily News.

The grisly discovery was made shortly after 9 a.m. when a local resident spotted the corpse floating in the murky waters near the Bronx River Park in Williamsbridge.

Police have yet to indentify the victim, whom they described as black and in her 20s or 30s. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how she died.

One local resident who was among the first people to see the body said it was spotted across the river from a paved path that leads down to a line of small trees at the water's edge. The resident said there was blood on the path.

Dozens of people turned out to watch as police and officials from the city medical examiner's office fished the body out of the river about 1 p.m. and investigated the crime scene.

Detectives appealed to the crowd for any information that may help them as they investigate.

The part of the park that is close to where the body was found is parallel to Bronx Blvd., near E. 226th St.

There are two bocce courts in that part of the park, and neighbors said the area is a hangout where young people smoke pot and party.

Some neighbors expressed concern about a pervert who has recently been exposing himself to women in the area, particularly pregnant women.

One woman, who declined to give her name, said the man actually touched her stomach and asked if she was pregnant.

A man who lives in the area described the wooded, riverside park as "relatively safe," but said he still warns female relatives to avoid the park after dark.

"If you're out here late at night, you should know better," he said, declining to give his name.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers tipline at 800-577-TIPS. All calls are confidential.

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New York Daily News - July 3o, 2011 - By Alex Christodulides and Bob Kappstatter

Friday, July 29, 2011

Prospect Park Poachers

On July 17th and 18th NYC Park Rangers issued two ECB and two Criminal Court summonses for killing wildlife and illegally fishing in the latest incident in Brooklyn's biggest park. For years park goers have been complaining about the illegal treatment of wildlife in the park and lack of response from authorities. Wildlife advocates Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman discovered turtle traps last year. (Photo: Stephen Brown/ Community Newspaper Group)


Cops have busted a group of oddball poachers in Prospect Park — a band of vagrants that was trapping and eating ducks, squirrels and pigeons.

Parks officers wrote four tickets — two for killing wildlife and two for illegal fishing — totaling $2,100 in fines during a two-day period last week, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

The city would not immediately release details of the incidents, which occurred on July 17 and 18 — just days after park-goers told rangers about a “Beverly Hillbillies”-like scene on the southeast side of the lake, near the ice skating rink.

“This is a dodgy group,” said park-goer Peter Colon, who spotted one of the men catching a pigeon while his friend started a fire. “They are the most threatening people in the park.”

The disheveled — and possibly homeless — tribe in question uses “makeshift” fishing poles and traps to catch the critters, then grills them over the fire, according to park watchdogs.

“One woman uses a net to bag the ducks,” said wildlife advocate Johanna Clearfield.

Wildlife advocates have long pushed the Parks Department to crackdown on illegal hunting and fishing in Prospect Park — especially after a stunning array of cases in which geese and cygnets were injured by illegal barbed fishhooks and lure.

In the most-dramatic case, a plucky little goose who lost the top half of his beak to a fishhook earned him endless sympathy and the nickname, “Beaky.”

The fishing and hunting ticket blitz comes while park-goers collect and document large mounds of fishing wire, claiming waterfowl are frequently get tangled.

And it’s not the first time that poachers have been busted. Last year, park-goers confronted a man after spotting him catching fish and secreting them into a bag — a violation of the city’s “catch-and-release” rules.

After being confronted, the man dumped the dead fish back into the lake.

The new poaching busts bring to mind last year’s wave of animal murders by the so-called “Butcher of Prospect Park,” whose death toll included waterfowl, chickens, turtles and a goat.

For now, wildlife advocates were hailing this month’s busts.

“The fact that they’re ticketing is great — it’s so badly needed,” said goose lover Mary Beth Artz. “I hope they keep it up.”

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The Brooklyn Paper -
By Natalie O’neill

Four busted for killing, cooking animals from Prospect Park
PIX - July 29, 2011 - By Ellyn Maries

Parks Dept. Delays Releasing FOIL Records - Lies About Complying - Daily News

"With all four FOILs still outstanding, The Daily News contacted the agency's press office last week.

Officials responded that in three of the four cases, the FOIL officer had either responded or asked The Daily News a question but never heard back, all of which was untrue."

Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, part on a FOIL request the Daily News says the Parks Department did not properly comply with. Reporters and the public routinely complain about the lack agency compliance. The FOIL office is yet another division of the agency that is severely understaffed. - Geoffrey Croft (Photo: Anthony DelMundo for New York Daily News)


Attempts to access key public records about the city's parks, including a Daily News inquiry last year about asbestos removal at a historic Queens catering hall, often see delays that drag on for months, according to the New York Daily News.

Watchdogs charge the Parks Department is chronically tardy in answering Freedom of Information Law requests, which are considered crucial to a transparent government.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who plans to introduce a bill this fall to track Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the city, slammed Parks officials.

"No agency is off the hook when it comes to Freedom of Information, and clearly the Parks Department isn't meeting its obligations," he said.

The News still has not received several records relating to Queens parks requested between September and January.

The longest wait has been 10 months on a request about asbestos and structural stability at Terrace on the Park catering hall in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Built for the 1964 World's Fair, the T-shaped tower was the focus of a Pulitzer Prize-nominated series in 1996 that revealed it contained asbestos. It also has cracks that have raised safety concerns.

The News filed a FOIL request on Terrace on the Park in September. A Parks Department FOIL officer responded to initial update requests, but he stopped returning calls and emails in December.

The News sent three more FOILs to the agency between November and January. They sought records on tree complaints, plans for a rumored hockey game at Citi Field and efforts to lure a pro hockey team to Queens.

With all four FOILs still outstanding, The News contacted the agency's press office last week.

Officials responded that in three of the four cases, the FOIL officer had either responded or asked The News a question but never heard back, all of which was untrue.

In the fourth case, the agency said the person working on the FOIL went on maternity leave.

The Parks Department later sent a statement saying they "provide information to the media and the public as quickly and thoroughly as possible."

The department also responded that it receives "many hundreds" of FOIL requests each year, and finds many documents that requesters never retrieve.

Advocates weren't buying it.

"They routinely violate the law," said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. "It's yet another part of the agency that has no oversight."

Croft said he waited three and a half years on a FOIL request about the environmental impacts of the new Yankee Stadium.

De Blasio's bill would require agencies to send monthly reports on FOIL requests to the City Council and the public advocate. Agencies also would be required to put the report online.

Supporters of information access complained that FOIL laws are rarely enforced.

"If an agency wants to hide from the public, it's pretty easy in this country to do," said David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee.

The News isn't the only media outlet to face long delays on Parks Department FOIL requests.

A recent amNewYork survey found the agency took three months to respond to a routine request for employee names, titles and salaries.

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New York Daily News - July 29th 2011 - By Nicholas Hirshon

City Losing $ 30 Mil Annually On Yankee/Shea Bloomberg Deal

(Photos by Mark Bonifacio/NY Daily News
Besides taking away more than 25 acres of historic parkland in the Bronx - the city is also losing more than $ 30 million a year in revenues under a deal negotiated by the Bloomberg administration. This while the City is planning to layoff 450 park workers in September.

Zero Accountably:

"The loss of revenue from Yankee and Shea Stadiums has no direct impact on the Parks Department's budget as the revenue was directed to the city's general fund and does not affect the agency's operations," Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said.

This directly contradicts public statements made by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe who has repeatedly claimed cuts demanded by Bloomberg have been offset by park revenue gains.

The Daily News further points out the absurdity of this statement by noting that Bloomberg's planned budget reductions for the Parks Department this year specifically said that any increase in recreation fees to the public would help prevent layoffs and other drastic cuts.
– Geoffrey Croft


If you want to know why more than 450 city park workers are about to be laid off or why the Parks Department has imposed outrageous fee increases, just take a look at the new Mets and Yankees ballparks (above).

Deals the Bloomberg administration negotiated in 2006 have stripped some $30 million in annual revenue the Parks Department once generated from Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium, according to the New York Daily News.

This is not something City Hall wants you to know. Parks officials only confirmed the revenue loss after the Daily News asked why budget documents showed a dramatic drop in the agency's franchise income since 2008.

At first glance, that would seem impossible.

Everyone knows private money-making operations have exploded in our parks under Bloomberg. Fancy new restaurants, food kiosks, green grocers, bike rental and private sporting concessions - you name it.

So how could total income from all this business activity be falling?

Well, it turns out that Shea and the old Yankee Stadium - both of which sat on park land, and were owned by the city - were the Parks Department's biggest revenue generators.

Under the old Yankee Stadium deal, the city was assured a percentage of gate receipts, a percentage of food sales, even a percentage of the team's cable revenue.

Because of that, the old stadium produced as much as $15 million a year for Parks - even after deducting costs for stadium upkeep.

Likewise, the Shea Stadium deal generated as much as $9 million annually for the city.

As recently as 2008, the two ballparks represented nearly half of the $51 million in concessions revenue generated by the entire Parks system.

On top of that, the city was taking in an additional $6 million annually from parking fees at Shea and the old Yankee Stadium.

Once the new ballparks opened, all that revenue disappeared - even the parking money.

Today, the Mets keep all their parking revenue. Meanwhile, the Yankee Stadium garages, run by an independent firm, are nearly bankrupt and may never produce the $3 million annually they agreed to provide the city.

This loss of $30 million each and every year is a hidden cost to taxpayers from the new ballparks.

Parks officials insist there's no real problem.

"The loss of revenue from Yankee and Shea Stadiums has no direct impact on the Parks Department's budget as the revenue was directed to the city's general fund and does not affect the agency's operations," spokesman Phil Abramson said.

That is pure nonsense. Bloomberg's planned budget reductions for the Parks Department this year specifically said that any increase in fees to the public would help prevent layoffs and other drastic cuts.

The result was a doubling of fees for tennis permits - from $100 to $200. Adult memberships to recreation centers went from $50 to $100, and from $75 to $150 if the center has a pool.

Even fees for adult leagues to use ballfields increased by 60%.

In other words, the Mets and Yankees save millions and the rest of us make it up with huge fee hikes.

"The elected officials who voted for this welfare for rich professional teams should be ashamed of themselves," said Geoffrey Croft, director of New York City Park Advocates.

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New York Daily News - July 29, 2011 - By Juan Gonzalez