Thursday, April 16, 2015

Four More Teens Busted In Worlds Fair Towers

Four teens were caught sneaking into the Worlds Fair's Astro Towers on Tuesday afternoon. Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers caught up to the group on the first observation deck,  126 feet in the air, and surprised them. The New York State Pavilion,  can be seen in the background. 


By Geoffrey Croft

Four more teens were caught sneaking up into the Worlds Fair towers NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

When Park Enforcement officers arrived this time they found the gate wide-open and the flimsy lock missing.   The rusted metal door that leads to the deteriorated staircase was also wide open and the small lock was nowhere to be found.  

The group was caught on the first platform.

"The locks magically disappeared," said an officer at the scene.

The kids from nearby Bowne High School made it as far as the first observation deck - 126 feet in the air -  Tuesday afternoon at 3:00pm when officers surprised them.

PEP officers detain four teens 126 feet in the air one of the three Worlds Fair Astro Towers observational platforms. 

"It's very dangerous up there," an officer said.  

"One slip and it's all over.

The officer said one teen mentioned he saw photos people had taken on instagram from the site.

Two 15-year olds and 16-year old were given trespassing summons. 

Another 16-year old,  who had multiple ID's belonging to other people and a bank card belong to someone else, was arrested. 

A few weeks ago, PEP officers caught five teens hanging out and graffiting 226 feet up on the highest tower.   Five teens were caught by park police after they broke into and climbed to the top of the observation deck.

When Park Enforcement Patrol Officers arrived this time they found the perimeter fence wide-open and the lock missing.  Safely on the ground  (background) officers issued summonses to three and took one teen into custody.  

Nearly $ six million dollars has been allocated for improvements to the three structures.

When PEP officers arrived at the base of the tower they saw the door leading inside wide open and the lock missing. 

Read More:

Sky-High Graffiti Bust: Teens Caught On Top Of Flushing Meadows
Corona Park Worlds Fair Towers
A wAlk In  The Park - March 15, 2015 -  By Geoffrey Croft

Central Park Perv Caught Relieving Himself


Police patrolling in Central Park on Tuesday night observed a man sexually relieving himself  on 74th Street near the East Drive NYC Park Advocates has learned.

Police saw him using his right hand touching himself in plain view of the public when they spotted him.  

David Black, 46 was arrested inside Central Park at 8:10 p.m. charged with public lewdness, according to police. 

According to the complaint, "the defendant intentionally exposed the private parts of his body in a lewd manner and committed a lewd act in a public place and in private premises in which he might readily be observed from a public place with intent that he be so observed."

Almost a year to the day, on April 15th 2014, Mr. Black was busted by transit police for having several credit cards belonging to other people after cops saw him sleeping the E train. 

- Geoffrey Croft

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Central Park: Police Seek Suspect Wanted In Robbery

Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect fleeing on East 60 Street. He is wanted in connection with a robbery on Friday.  (Image: DCPI)


By Geoffrey Croft

The New York City Police Department is asking the public's assistance identifying the suspect wanted for robbery within the confines of the Central Park Precinct. 

On Friday, April 10, 2015, at 11:50am, the victim, a 17-year-old male, was walking inside Central Park, in the vicinity of 60 Street and the East Drive when the suspects approached him and demanded his money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undetermined amount of money. There were no reported injuries.

The suspect is a black male in his fifties, 5'10" tall, weighing 220 pounds.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website atWWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Edward Snowden Artists Seek Confiscated Sculpture Back From NYPD


A 4-feet tall bust of Edward Snowden was exhibited for a few hours last week in Fort Green Park in Brooklyn before the city quickly covered it up and the police confiscated it. The artists are seeking to have the sculpture returned.  (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)


April 14,  2015 

Community to NYPD:  Return the Snowden Bust! • 
Calls On The City To Return Edward Snowden 
Sculpture Confiscated In Fort Green Park

WHO:     Civil rights and criminal defense attorney Ronald L. Kuby,   NYC Park Advocates president Geoffrey Croft will be joined by free speech supporters. 

WHAT:  Press conference calling on the City to immediately return the bust of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden confiscated by police in Fort Greene Park.  The artists plan to submit an application to legally exhibit the sculpture through the Parks Department's Art in the Parks initiative,  a 45-year-old program that exhibits artwork temporarily in city parks throughout the city.  A local gallery has also agreed to temporarily exhibit the work. 

A letter from Ron Kuby to Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, and a statement from the artists will be available.

WHERE:  Fort Green Park - Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 

WHEN:   Tuesday, April 14th - at 10: 00 a.m. 

BACKDROP:   Supporters gather against the backdrop where the bust was placed and subsequently removed by city officials.

BACKGROUND:      A 100-pound bust of Mr. Snowden was erected by three artists just before dawn near the park's Prison Ship Martyrs Monument on Monday April 6th on one of the three empty pedestals that face the Revolutionary War monument.    The city quickly covered up the statue and police confiscated it.  The bust remains in police custody today.  The artists hope the sculpture is returned so it may "continue to spark healthy conversations about issues central to our freedoms, " they state.

Four parks workers helped cover up the work with a blue tarp so that the media could not get a look at it while they prepared to remove it.  (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) 

NYC Park Advocates Inc. is a non-partisan watchdog group dedicated to improving public parks, restoring public funding, increasing public recreation programs, expanding open space and accessibility, and achieving the equitable distribution of these vital services in New York City for all. We are the only park advocacy group dedicated to all City, State and Federal parkland in New York City. For more information please visit us at

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Great Cover-Up As Parks' Quickly Removes Bust Of Edward Snowden In Fort Greene Park

A 4-feet tall bust of Edward Snowden was exhibited for a few hours this morning before Parks Department workers covered it up with a blue tarp. (Below) The artists also added letters spelling out Snowden’s name in an official-looking font befitting of a monument beneath the eagle.  By 1:15 the bust had been removed. (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)

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


By Geoffrey Croft

The Parks Department  quickly removed a bust of Edward Snowden that was erected early this morning in Fort Greene Park.

Parks workers went to great lengths to keep the illicit likeness covered up while they removed it, at one point four workers helped keep it under wraps.

The 100-pound bust  of NSA whistleblower was erected just before dawn near the park's Prison Ship Martyrs Monument on one of the three empty pedestals that face the Revolutionary War monument.  

(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)

At one point four parks workers were helping to cover it up so that the media could not get a look at it while they prepared to remove it.   (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

By 1:15pm it had been removed and driven away on top of a Parks Department vehicle.

Several onlookers complained of censorship while the workers removed it. 

More than a  dozen police officers and detectives watched while it was taken down.

The installation was first reported by a website called ANIMAL, an internet site devoted to art,  news and culture which posted a video of the group installing it. 

 The event attracted a fair amount of media attention.

According to the site, it took over six months to sculpt, mold, cast and ship to New York from the West Coast artist. 

"Measuring 4-feet tall, Snowden’s head was placed atop one of the four columns that lie at the monument’s edge, above the eagles. The bust is made of hydrocal, a high quality sculpting material," Animal reported.

"Seeing it up close, you could never tell that you were looking at a plaster-like substance. In fact, over a dozen people walking their dogs passed by the new bust on Monday morning without noticing the unsanctioned piece. Both the color and design of the bust expertly matches the existing sculptures there, from its bronze patina finish to Snowden’s hair — which mimics the texture of the feather on the eagle. The artists also added letters spelling out Snowden’s name in an official-looking font befitting of a monument."

 A Parks Department worker grabs the bust.

Park workers begin to slide it off the pedestal, being extremely careful not to reveal any of the work to the public.

Park workers move the bust from the pedestal onto the roof of the Parks Department vehicle.

 Workers secure the work on the roof of the truck.

The bottom of the bust is slightly uncovered as the parks worker ties up the work to the roof of the truck.

 Work being done under the watchful eye of the police.

According to the report the artists were mindful of not damaging the existing monument. 

"While it was very important that the piece be more than just a prop or paper mache effigy, the artists didn’t want to damage the surface that the bust would be bound to, either. After some debate, they decided on an adhesive that would firmly hold the head in place, yet could be removed without marring the monument."

Snowdon was the subject  of a 2014 documentary called Citizenfour that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Oscars.

Back to Normal.

(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) 

Read/View More:

gothamist - April 6, 2015 - By Lauren Evans 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Trump's Ferry Point Golf Course Taxpayer Debacle Opens


By Geoffrey Croft

Trump Golf Links At Ferry Point Park, located on the former Ferry Point Park landfill surrounded by housing projects near the Whitestone Bridge in the Bronx,  is now open for business - for the rich. 
It's April Fools Day every day for the city's tax payers as b
illionaire Michael Bloomberg's gift to billionaire Donald Trump finally opens today but not before sticking the taxpayers with a reported  $ 269 million dollar bill.
In one of the most fiscally irresponsible deals made during Bloomberg administration the city paid to build the country's most expensive municipal golf course for the billionaire real estate developer. 
The project, one of the Parks Department's most scandal-plagued developments, was 
originally supposed to open in 2001 and cost the tax payers only a few million dollars. 
But the city's cost to build the luxury course isn't the only thing that has skyrocketed since Trump signed the deal in 2013:  Prices to play at the exclusive course have also continued to go through the roof.

Pay to Play

Green Fees. In a further bilking of taxpayers, the city is allowing Trump to charge the public more than three times what is paid to play at other Parks Department golf courses.

The original contract signed by Donald Trump's Ferry Point Partners for green fees in 2013 listed  $100 for a round of golf (Monday-Thursday), and  $125 on weekends and holidays.  He was also allowed to charge non-residents $25 more on weekends without the approval of Parks or the city. 

Since then the sky-high green fees have dramatically increased even further. 
The green fees are now $141.00 during the week and $169.00 on weekends.  For non-residents prices are now  $190.00 during the week and  
$ 215 dollars on weekends. 

Trump is also permitted to increase green fees annually according to his agreement.

Golf carts. And not to miss a trick, golf carts will be rented at a rate of $35 per rider, up from the origianl  $ 25 dollars, and as opposed to $37 per cart at the city's other courses.
Green fees more than three times higher than at Other city courses. 
The Pelham Bay Golf Course in the Bronx for example charges  $ 39 dollars before noon, 
$ 31 after,  and $ 49 dollars on weekends before noon and $40 after.
They do not charge an additional fee for non-residents.

During the anything goes Bloomberg administration the public had been repeatedly assured by city officials that costs would be comparable to other city cources.

"The intention is to keep [prices] in line with other city courses and not charge as premium,"  then Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said in 2009,  presumably with a straight face.

The public was originally on the hook for only a few million dollars of the original $22 million dollar project. 

In 2007 however Mayor Bloomberg decided the city's tax-payers should pay for the project after the Giuliani-selected original developer Pierre Gagne's Ferry Point Partners walked away in 2006 because of rising costs. (but not before the city paid them nearly $15 million of the $43 million already spent by 2009)

"It's a mess ... There was a contract entered into long before our administration ... It turns out it was a terrible contract. But that doesn't mean you go criticize the guys that did it because, for all I know, I would have done the same thing. Maybe at that time it appeared to be a great contract," the Mayor said on November 23, 2007 in a now famous quote.

This project is a far cry from the original municipally-minded master plan created by Robert Moses, dating back to at least 1949. That plan called for approximately one-quarter of the 222-acre site to be devoted to golf with much of the rest designated as ballfields and picnic areas.

Trump Golf has committed to a $10 million capital investment to design and construct a clubhouse which is finally slated to open next year after much delay. 

Payments to the City

Trump is required pay the city nothing through the first four years of his 20-year contract. Years 1-4: No Fee. Year 5: $300,000 or 7% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts. By the 10th year, he is required to pay $360,000 or 7% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts. By year 20, he is required to pay the city $470,000 or 10% of Gross Receipts plus 3% of sublicense gross receipts.

The person in charge of the deal is Ronald Lieberman,  Ferry Point vice president of special projects for the Trump Organization and former head of the Parks Department revenue division.  

State taxpayers may also be on the hook, according to the license agreement, as the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) and the New York State Department of Transportation are required to build at no cost to the city or to Trump "an exit ramp from the Bronx bound lanes of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge to the entrance access to the Licensed premises."

Several requests seeking  information from the Parks Department were not returned.

Read More:

A Walk In The Park - October 16, 2013 -  By Geoffrey Croft

Donald Trump In Sweetheart City Tax-Payer Funded Golf Concession Deal
A Walk In The Park - January 9, 2013 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - September 30, 2012 - By Geoffrey Croft 

A Walk In The Park -  August 15, 2012

A Walk In The Park - February 4, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - December 24, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft

A Walk In The Park - August 17, 2009