Saturday, June 30, 2012

Security Questioned At $ 50 Mil. McCarren Pool As Lifeguards Are Attacked One Day After Opening


Lifeguards were attacked last night at McCarren Park Pool, one day after it's opening. Additional security is also being brought in A Walk In The Park has learned to provide 24/7 coverage as people have already been observed sneaking into the pool after hours. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

By Geoffrey Croft

Just a day after the opening of the $ 50 million McCarren Park Pool complex in Brooklyn the facility had to be closed early due to violence after lifeguards were attacked by a group of teens.

A Parks Department City Seasonal Aid (CSA) employee providing security on the pool deck at McCarren Park Pool. Critics say the city has a fraction of the PEP officers needed to protect the public and relies too heavily on non-peace officer status personnel who receive little training to provide essential safety services in our park system, including public pools. The security personnel, including JTP's, have no enforcement authority including arrest powers, they can issue no summonses, and receive as little as one day of training.

One lifeguard sustained a cut to his mouth after he was punched in the face. He was treated at the scene. The melee began when a group of kids refused to listen when they were instructed to stop doing back-flips into the pool.

A fight broke out and the teens attacked the lifeguards just after 6:00 pm. NYPD responded but no arrests were made.

“Lifeguards at McCarren Pool were attacked by an unruly crowd, and the pool had to close to restore order, ” Parks Department spokeswoman said.

A City source said a pool security/safety plan developed in concert with NYPD and the Parks Department had still not been finalized for McCarren Pool. Critics hoped that will change after yesterday's incident.

The lack of Park Enforcemnt Patrol (PEP) officers was also strongly criticized.

"We don't have enough bodies," said a PEP officer who did not want their name used for fear of retaliation.

"We don't have the coverage. They have some nerve. Now they're scrambling as usual. The City Council has to wake up. PD is also down bodies."

Local 983 vice-president Joe Puleo said the city was continuing to put the public at risk by not having enough PEP officers and relying on untrained, non-peace officer status CSA's and Job Training Participants (JTP) as security personnel.

"They are are putting CSA's and JTP's out there as an illusion of security," Mr. Puleo said. "

They have no authority they can't even write a summonses. They can't do anything. How many more incidents have to occur until the city takes action."

The city had assigned two PEP Sergeants and 9 seasonals to the pool. This is unusually high compared to the city's other Olympic-sized pools where 1 Sgt. and 3 seasonals are generally deployed from the city's depleted ranks.

NYPD and Auxiliary officers outside the Pool on opening day.

"The Police and PEP need to be out on the pool deck," said a lifeguard.

"Lifeguards are supposed to be watching the pools not breaking up fights. We are not police or PEP. We are supposed to ensuring the safety of swimmers not being attacked. What are (JTP's) supposed to do hit them with their food stamps. They are nice people but the city is putting us - not to mention them - at risk.

As reported by A Walk In The Park, last Summer saw a rash of pool related incidents. including a number in which lifeguards were involved.

"If you don't set the tone in these places you will lose control," said a lifeguard today.

The lack of PEP has left the rest of the park system severely understaffed as well. The entire borough of Brooklyn for instance has just two PEP officers available to patrol more than 4, 300 acres of acres of park land.

Installing a camera overlooking the pool on opening day.

Read More:

New York Times - June 29, 2012

DNAinfo - June 29, 2012 - By Julie Shapiro, Jill Colvin, Fred Dreier

gothamist - June 30, 2012- By Jen Chung

New York Post - June 30, 2012 - By Rich Calder

Friday, June 29, 2012

Historic McCarren Park Pool Reopens After 28 Years Of Neglect and Wait

Bliss. Friends Ayana, 12, Maya, 10, Chelsea, 10, and Nola, 10, jump into the newly renovated pool yesterday afternoon. Like all other outdoor Parks Department pools admission is free. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates.) Click on image to enlarge.


On a picture perfect day the mighty McCarren Pool in Green Point Brooklyn roared back into the hearts and minds of Brooklynites yesterday. After nearly three decades of being abandoned the long anticipated reopening arrived and thousands poured into the newly renovated facility on a 90 degree.

For nearly thirty years the the decrepit McCarren Pool stood as a glaring example of municipal neglect after closing in 1983. The facility has been lovingly restored and includes many new features.

$50 million dollars was spent renovating the pool and year-round recreation center. The new facility boasts a 379,500-square-foot pool and accommodates 1500 swimmers, a decrease of 700. It has eight 25-meter lap lanes; spray showers. The pool has been reduced significantly from four Olympic-sized swimming pools to two. The original pool was 54440 square feet and accommodated 2200 swimmers.

The once-glorious diving pool has been replaced by a beach volleyball court.

The project also restored the year-round recreation center. The facility includes, a gymnasium, basketball court, a cardio and strength training fitness center with treadmills, stationary bikes, upper body cardio equipment, weight room, dance studio cardio room and multipurpose community meeting space, computer resource center and game room with board games, ping pong.

The historic bathhouse building and entry arch was preserved and restored. Wood panels recycled from the Coney Island boardwalk are among the decorative features used by the architects.

With McCarren’s re-opening, all 11 pools built by Robert Moses are now back in service.

For most of the glorious day the line snaked down Lorimer Street and around to Bayard Street. The line was filled with people who were excited to experience what the fuss was all about. Many were not even born the last time it was used as a public pool, while for others it was a trip down memory lane.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg presided over the pool and Play Center ribbon cutting ceremony renovation dedication.

"Today is all about the water," Bloomberg said, repeatedly mispronouncing "McClarren" until the crowd corrected him numerous times and an aid whispered into his ear. He readjusted his pronunciation to "McCarren." It seems the Massachusetts native wasn't all familiar with the neighborhood either as he referred to it as Williamsburg.

"McCarren Park Pool has an illustrious past and a bright future. The major investment we’ve made in this renovation will help return the pool and the park to their place at the center of community life for residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint."

Mayor Bloomberg was joined at podium by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Community Board 1 District Manager and the Open Space Alliance chair. (The previous night the Alliance held its annual gala poolside event.)

“Our outdoor pools are officially open for the summer and we are especially proud of our latest addition, the McCarren Pool and Play Center, ” said Benepe.

After the speeches and a countdown, kids jumped into the crystal clear waters and swam to the other side, kicking off the pool's opening as well as officially starting the City's outdoor pool season.

The pool opened to the general public at 12:30pm after the VIP opening ceremony, and it did not disappoint.

When it was time for the pool to open to the general public, Parks Department staff went through the long line to see if people had special needs. An appreciative Martha Fernandez and her family were plucked from the back of the line on Bayard Street around the corner from the entrance and escorted inside.

For the 36-year-old Mrs. Fernandez and her family it was a very special day. She recently had heart bypass surgery and now relies on a wheelchair to get around. Her mother Loardes Rosa pushed her down a gentle slope leading to the pool entrance and delivered her into the refreshing bright blue water. Martha transferred to the grab bars and held on, and took it all in with a big smile.

"It feels great, It's warm," Martha Fernandez exclaimed while trying coax her 5-year-old son Ethan into the pool. She explained it was very hard getting around in the wheelchair on a daily basis and pointed out that so many things are not accessible. She hopes to one day not to need to rely on the chair.

She was brimming with joy with the new facility.

"This is going to be my new spot."

Her mother said she's been preaching for the pool to open for a long time.

"I love it, it's great," she said playing with numerous grandchildren.


An expansive sloped "zero entry" access area, a ramp with grab bars, and two accessibility compliant chair lifts are just a few of the many new ADA compliant features incorporated into the new pool, and adjacent play center facility. Inside the recreation center, bathrooms and community resources rooms are accessible, fitness equipment that allows people who use assistive mobility devices to use it has been installed, as well as to use the upper body cardio equipment according to the Parks Department.

The pool's zero entry is a popular feature.

The promised roof-top cafe has been delayed because funds for an elevator needed to comply with ADA have not been secured. An issue that Parks is pursuing.

Perhaps the most significant and noticeable change is the large ramp built to the left of the building's entrance which now allows people of all abilities to access to the facility for the first time since it the pool and recreational center was first built.

"Public pools are great," said NYC school teacher Melicca McCormick from Bedford-Stuyvesant who came with a fellow teacher and her child.

"They bring together people from all different classes and races. Parks are how we are able to survive in the city. If we didn't have them I don't know what we'd do. I'm so glad my friend dragged me along. We are going to be here all Summer. We don't have air-conditioning. "

The lack of maintenance, proper security, and lack of political will turned the re-opening pool into a battleground that mirrored the city's racial divide. For years activists worked tirelessly to reopen the pool, while some residents worked against them, saying they didn't want "outsiders" (i.e., people of color) flooding the neighborhood and feared the city would not run be able to run the facility adequately.

City Council member Stephen Levin said he wasn't concerned about the racial problems, the lack of maintenance or the security issues that plagued the pool in the past from returning.

"That was before my time. We've come a long away since then. I'm very confident that is will be maintained for generations to come and will be safe for people who use it. As long as I'm in office I will make sure," he added.

He thanked the Bloomberg administration for allocating the funds to restore the facility and added his office had allocated some money as well.

"It seemed impossible when they first started talking about this, but the administration made it a priority, " he said after taking an inaugural dip.

"It's going to become a great destination pool."

Pool Hours

The pool will be open from 11 a.m. — 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. — 7 p.m. daily.
Starting July 5th, parents get a break when the adult lap swim program begins. “Early Bird” lap swim hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and “Night Owl” lap-swim hours from 7:00 p.m. to dusk . It's one of the City's best kept Summer secrets.

Swimming is free. Annual fees for the Recreation Center are as follows: Adult Membership (Ages 18-61) is $150 per year (it includes access to all 33 recreation centers including all 12 indoor pools, or $100 per year for access to the 21 recreation centers without indoor pools., Senior Membership (Ages 62 and Over), $25 per year for access to all 33 recreation centers including all 12 indoor pools., Youth Membership (17 and Under), Free access to all 33 recreation centers including all 12 indoor pools.

Read/View More

Celebrate the reopening of Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool
Moses-era Williamsburg/Greenpoint landmark reborn after being dry for 28 years

Empty About 3 Decades, Pool From the Depression Era Reopens to Cool Off Brooklyn
By LISA W. FODERARO, Published: June 28, 2012

McCarren Pool Opens to Swimmers June 28, 2012 By Meredith Hoffman

The Wall Street Journal - June 28, 2012 - By Jessica Firger
A Swim in Time: Remembering NYC’s First Public Pools

New York City’s 55 Outdoor Pools Officially Open For Summer Season
Newly Renovated McCarren Pool & Play Center Now Open June 28, 2012

McCarren Park Pool Now Open!

Photos: McCarren Park Pool Opens With Tears Of A Thousand Hipsters

NYC Parks makes a splash with new McCarren Park pool
NY Daily News - Video

via Curbed:

Before and After at McCarren Park Pool

Seeking to Recapture the Glory of the Past. Or Maybe Not.
By TIM STELLOH April 9, 2006

Sprinklers At Sunset Park Playground Dry As Temps Sore

Sunset Park Sprinkler Stays Dry as Temperatures Climb
As temperatures climbed above 90 degrees Thursday, the sprinkler on the Sunset Park Playground was dry as a desert. Residents report that the sprinkler has not been on all season. (Photos: Alan Neuhauser/DNAinfo)


As the mercury climbed above 90 degrees Thursday, the sprinkler on the Sunset Park playground, which officials had promised to repair, stayed dry, according to DNAinfo.

City rules require public park sprinklers to be turned on anytime temperatures rise above 80 degrees, officials said, but as temperatures soared last week, the Sunset Park sprinkler remained dry.

"The sprinkler should be on," said 10-year-old Melanie Garcia, who was visiting the park Thursday with her father, James.

Officials scurried to make repairs after a New York story on the dry sprinkler.

"There was a leak in the water line that feeds the sprinkler at Sunset Park," Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor wrote in a Friday email. "We made the repairs and it will be back on tomorrow."

Parkgoers said Thursday, however, that the playground sprinkler has not been turned on at all.

Lalor and the Parks Department press office did not return a call for comment.

"The sprinklers haven't been on," complained Krystal G., 24, a stay-at-home mom who said she regularly brings her son and two daughters, ages 5, 4 and 1, to the Sunset Park playground. "We came on the first day of summer, and we were all excited.

We were all in our bathing suits, but no sprinklers."

Dry Sprinkler in Sunset Park

A splash area in Sunset Park sat dry Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Read More:

Sunset Park Sprinkler Stays Dry as Temperatures Climb
DNAinfo - June 28 - By Alan Neuhauser

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Friends of Hudson River Park's Improvement District Funding Scheme Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Pay-To-Play. Prominent real estate developer Douglas Durst and the non-profit he runs, Friends of Hudson River Park (FHRP) want area residents and businesses to pay a special tax to pay Hudson River Park's upkeep instead of the City and State allocating funds. Last week NY State legislators refused to introduce a bill which would have allocated $15 million in emergency funds and approximately $7 million annually from cruise ships and water taxi fees. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.

The tax proponents hope to generate $10 million annually from the funding scheme. The Park Improvement Area (PID) area could include 1,700 properties.

A similar Park Improvement District (PID) proposal supported by Mayor Bloomberg to pay for maintenance and operation (M&O) of the High Line esplanade in Manhattan was quickly scrapped after strong public criticism emerged. A similar scheme to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park was also not warmly received.

Mr. Durst is on the Board of Directors of the Bryant Park Corporation BID. His building, One Bryant Park, generates $150,000 of the BID's gross annual revenue. Bryant Park is a public park which the city allows to be run privately.

Dedicated funding streams from non-government sources create enormous disparities.

Durst is a director of the Real Estate Board of New York, The Trust for Public Land, and Project for Public Spaces. He is also the co-chair of Friends of the Hudson River Park. Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) hopes to begin building West 57, a 600-unit building on across the street from the park in 2012, and boasts, "courtyard open views towards the Hudson River." Mr. Durst's distinctive bright yellow New York Water Taxi fleet are a familiar sight along the park.

- Geoffrey Croft

Pier 40. Hudson River Park was never required to be self-sustaining according to the original law that established the park. Despite the fact that the park has generated billions of dollars in revunue for the city and state, they refuse to allocate the proper resources to maintain the park.


The Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Land Use Committee met last night to hear a presentation from the Friends of Hudson River Park, according to Curbed.

The gist: Hudson River Park needs a lot of money. Not that this is news or anything. The proposed Business Improvement District (BID) or, as it's now being called, Neighborhood Improvement District is, apparently, the largest-scale BID (or NID) ever proposed, and would tax residential properties 7.5 cents per square foot (median assessment: $99) and commercial properties 15 cents per square foot ($499) in order to raise a Total Amended First Year Budget of $10, 000, 000, which is around one tenth of what the park actually needs for day-to-day operations/development/integrating the park with the community/other things. And once the park is finished (it's currently at 70%) it will be generating more money from its commercial entities except maybe it won't and maybe those entities will even lose money because who knows? Not us. Confused yet? So were we.

Committee Member: So it’s unclear what the incremental increase in the operating revenue of the commercial entities will be once the park is complete.

Second Committee Member: It’s actually a little bit more complicated than that.

This is how the sausage gets made, people! Really confusingly. And expensively. It's like a one hundred million dollar sausage or something. This is a strategy that has already failed to come to fruition for the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park. It certainly seems like a desperation move, but then again, that's more or less what it is. And who knows—it could even end up working out. Maybe? Crazier things have happened. The BID is currently in the "Outreach Phase" and, if everything goes according to plan, will be voted on early next year.

Read More:

Hudson River Park Needs Money, Is Asking The People
Curbed - June 14, 2012 - By Jeremiah Budin

A Walk In The Park - March 17, 2011

A Walk In The Park - June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Park Employee Convicted Of Sexual Assault Of Co-Worker In Central Park

"Since that day I've had to go to counseling and sit with hurt inside pouring all my tears out about how you affected my personal life with my family and people around me. My kids wonder why mommy is always mad and why is mommy always crying. They ask me what is wrong and I cant say a thing." - Victim.

The Parks Department's 86th St. shop - located along the transverse road adjacent to the Central Park Police Pct. in the middle of the park - was the location where a parks worker was sexually assulted on June 27th, 2011. A co-worker was found guilty today and recieved a four month and fifteen day sentence. The judge also ordered an order of protection for the victim and ordered the defendant Vernon Gowdy to pay a $ 250 fine.

(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on image to enlarge.

Parks Department worker Vernon Gowdy. (Photo: Sam Griffin, The Pool)


By Geoffrey Croft

A Parks Department employee with a lengthy criminal record was sentenced today in the sexual abuse a fellow park worker.

Vernon Gowdy - 43, was convicted of Forcible Touching and Exposure of a Person of a co-worker inside Central Park in June 2011. Despite being convicted last month he is still working for the Parks Department.

Judge Anthony J. Ferrara sentenced Mr. Gowdy to four months for Forcible Touching and 15 days for exposing himself. He faced up to a year in behind bars. The judge also ordered an order of protection for the victim and ordered Gowdy to pay a $ 250 fine.

"They reviewed all the evidence and they found you were guilty of a very serious crime," said the judge in rendering his sentence.

At one point the judge asked why the defendant still had his job.

"What are they waiting for. He was convicted of sexual assault in the workplace. What are they waiting for," the judge asked defense lawyer Stuart Lichten in disbelief.

"I don't know," the lawyer responded. "Maybe it's just bureaucracy."

"I have had a long and stressful journey dealing with what you have done to me," the 33 year-old mother of three told Judge Ferarra, in part reading from a victim impact statement.

"Since that day I've had to go to counseling and sit with hurt inside pouring all my tears out about how you affected my personal life with my family and people around me. My kids wonder why mommy is always mad and why is mommy always crying. They ask me what is wrong and I cant say a thing."

She joined the prosecutors in asking that he get the maximum sentence allowed by law, one year in jail.

"You are a disgusting low down individual that does not have any respect or decency towards women. It sickens my stomach to even be in the same room with you, but I will stand here to let you know you will never do this to me or someone else within the workplace again," she said as tears rolled down her face.

The abuse took place on the second floor of the Parks Department's 86th shop located along the transverse road adjacent to the Central Park Police Pct. in the middle of the park.

On June 27th, 2011, at approximately 8:00am, Gowdy approached the victim, rubbed her back, slid a hand into her shorts and rubbed his hand between the woman's buttocks, according to the criminal court complaint. He then exposed his erect penis and displayed it to the woman, and stated in substance, "It's all right. You could touch it."

The woman informed Gowdy that he did not have her consent to touch informant's buttock or informant's back or to expose his penis, according according to the complaint.

"I felt disgusted. I was in total shock," she said today.

According to the victim, Gowdy reeked of marijuana when he approached her desk that morning. Gowdy left her work area only when a supervisor approached and asked "what's going on here," she told A Walk In the Park.

"Mama, keep it between a & b," (between you and me) he reportedly said to her after the incident.

Six days later he was arrested and brought to the Central Park Pct. a few yards away.

He was originally charged with Forcible Touching- (1 count ) and Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree (1 count)

He faced up to two years in behind bars - a year on each count.

The victim was on the stand for two hours during the May trial.

"It was tough but I hung in there," she said.

Gowdy was suspended for 30 days from his $44,051-a-year job a few weeks after the incident.

Before his arrest the victim had to endure seeing her abuser in the office twice a day for week when he clocked in and out of work. After his arrest he was suspended. After the suspension the agency moved him to Ft. Tyron in upper Manhattan and then as part of Borough Crew working out of 125th Street where he works today according to DPR sources.

Instead of relocating her from the scene of the crime as she has repeatedly requested, the Parks Department installed multiple cameras around the entrance of the building.

Compounding the issue since the incident has been the Parks Department's refusal to transfer the victim from the location where the abuse took place she says. She reports being teased numerous times in the office since.

Instead of moving her as she has repeatedly requested, Parks' Manhattan Chief of Operations - Nam Yoon - had multiple cameras installed around the entrance of the building.

"I asked to be moved from the 86th Street shops and I've been denied ever since. I've requested two or three times to be moved. What I got was, "it couldn't happen right now, They would need a body for a body." The chief (Nam Yoon) didn't think there was a need for the move because the person who committed the crime was removed. It's just been a mess.

I've had to remind him I have re-live being there all the time. Just being in the office is uncomfortable for me. And I'm still there. He told me I'm in the safest place in the borough, the police are right across the street and all this garbage. I'm looking a him - this isn't affecting me safe wise it's affecting me mentally. My well being. I don't like being there. I have to work I have to make a living but it affects me everyday."

"I'm in counseling for it now, I've been in counseling since it happened," she continued.

A park employee since 2002 she has worked her way up: First as a JTP where she worked in Jackie Robinson Park, then as a seasonal worker to now a well respected CPW, a position she has held since 2006.

She said she is continuing to receive counseling made available through the DA's office.

"He doesn't know the affect this has had on me. He has no idea," she said of Gowdy.

Gowdy read from a prepared statement and protested his innocence.
As proof he claimed that a Parks Department Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report "found no probable cause" to support the victim's claims.

When contacted for comment after the preceding, both the victim and her union representative, DC 37 Local 1505 president Dilcy Benn said they were unaware of the existence of such a report and say in fact they have never heard a single word from the agency's EEO office since first contacting them. They also asked whether Gowdy had disclosed in his statement that he and Richard Granderson, then head of the EEO office were friends. He did not. (see below).

Gowdy vowed to appeal the sentence.

He was lead away in handcuffs after the preceding.

When asked afterwards how he was convicted, his attorney Mr. Lichtenr said, "I guess the jury believed her testimony."


Vernon Gowdy, (above) is an Associate Park Service Worker (ASPW) has a long history with the law dating back to 1983 according to law enforcement sources.
(Photo: Sam Griffin, The Pool)

He has been locked-up more than 15 times. In 2001, Detectives arrested Vernon Gowdy for the July 11, 1991, strangulation of Anna McCoy, 25, whose partially nude body was found on a stairwell landing in a building on Valentine Avenue in University Heights but wasn't prosecuted because Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said there wasn't enough evidence.

Detectives at the time said evidence against Gowdy included a DNA match of semen found on the victim and unspecified statements he made to investigators about the case, according to a report.

"I can't understand why he's not still behind bars," an officer was quoted as saying. "We had the DNA, we had the statements. That should have been enough."

He did an almost five year stint in Sing Sing for attempted robbery in the 80's and additional time for robbery at Queensborough Correctional Facility in the 1990's.

His arrest history also includes:

Multiple arrests for criminal possession of stolen property, multiple arrests for petty larceny, DWI (2004), criminal possession of a controlled substance, jostling, and possession of marijuana. He also has five arrests which have been sealed by the courts.

According to the DPR he has worked in Parks since June 15, 1998. Gowdy said in statement read today he has been an employee of the year and employee of the month during that time.

"What type of background checks are being done on workers," asked a long-time Parks employee who requested anonymity. "It's not just the public that needs to be worried its us as well."

At the time of Gowdy's arrest last year Parks Department press officials rigorously defended his hiring.

Despite repeated requests the Parks Department's press office and Mayor's office and have refused to respond including whether he is still employed by the Parks Department. (Update)

"This matter was taken very seriously by the agency," a Parks Department spokesperson said in a statement.

"The agency has cooperated fully in both the criminal investigation and the prosecution of Mr. Gowdy. We are moving to terminate him. He has certain due process rights which allow him to appeal before he is terminated (as well as after termination)."

"He's still working. This is why I have no trust in the agency."

The vicim said she is appalled at how she has been treated by the agency since the ordeal.

"This is a male dominated agency, we are so far down. I don't feel they stand up for woman."

The vicim said she went to the police after it was not being addressed internally by the agency. She and Local 1505 president Dilcy Been first contacted the park advocates office. They met the office and were told there was "nothing they can do." They told them to contact the agency's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office then run by Richard "Ricardo" Granderson which they did.

Granderson finally got back to her after leaving a few messages. The victim said Granderson took the "allegation" and said they would do what he discribed as "an investigation."

She never heard back.

"To this day I never heard back from him," she said today.

According to multiple park sources Gowdy and Granderson were friends.

"You had to go through him. It's obvious he had some kind of relationship with him. Everybody knew they were friends. You could see it, " the victim said.

According to several park sources Mr. Granderson was fond saying how he reported directly to Parks Commissioner Benepe.

"He used to threaten you with that," a source said.

Granderson quietly left the agency in November. His employment with the Parks Department is excluded from his company bio. He founded the Granderson Group while simultaneously working at the agency.
(Granderson worked for Parks from 11/16/04 to 11/11/11) We are waiting to hear back if he recieved a waiver from the City's Conflict of Interest board.

"Where are we supposed to go to with these issues," she asked. "Who will represent the victim. They act like they don't care. There needs to be an independent body who aren't connected to these people. We don't have that.

The Parks Department hates when these things get outside the agency, but they bring it upon themselves.
This is the Parks Department, there is no accountability."

For the victim it's been a long, arduous journey.

"I'm strong, I will beat this."

Read More:

AM New York - June 26, 2012 - By Ivan Pereira

A Walk In The Park - July 11, 2011

New York Post - July 4, 2001 - By Philip Messing

New York Post - July 5, 2001 - By John Lehmann