Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Man Wanted For Sexually Assaulting Boys In Bronx Park

Police search for suspect in sexual assault of boys in NYC park
Police released video of the suspect wanted in several sexual assults of boys in Seton Falls Park.


By Geoffrey Croft

Police are searching for a man wanted in a series of sexual assults on boys in a Bronx park.

On at least three seperate occations between August 8 and October 3rd the suspect lured boys ages 12 - 15 into Seton Falls Park near Baychester Avenue and Crawford Avenue where he sexually assulted them.

The NYPD is seeking the public's assistance in locating and identifying the following individual wanted in connection to a forcible touching pattern within the confines of the 47th Precinct.

On Tuesday, August 8, 2015 at approximately 1:15pm a suspect approached the 13 year-old victim as he was walking and offered him money if he could help him carry his bags.  The victim agreed to help him and as they entered the walkway of Seton Falls Park in the vicinity of Baychester Avenue and Crawford Avenue, he grabbed the 13 year-old male victim's buttocks.

On Thursday, September 17, 2015 at approximately 6:45am a suspect approached the 15 year-old male victim while he was walking and offered him money to help him carry his bags. The victim agreed, at which point the suspect led him to an isolated area inside Seton Falls Park where the suspect exposed himself, began to masturbate, and asked the victim to have sex with him. The suspect then proceeded to touch the victim's groin area over his clothing.

On Saturday, October 3, 2015 at approximately 11:25 hours, the 12 year-old victim was walking inside Seton Falls Park when he was approached by a suspect who grabbed him by the arm.  The suspect pulled the victim into a wooded area, where he observed the suspect grab his own waistband.

There were no injuries sustained in any of these incidents. The suspect is described as follows:

Male, black, in his 30's, approximately 5'3", slim build, shaved head, and foreign accent. 

The suspect was seen wearing brown sandals, a blue t-shirt, and black shorts during at least one of the incidents.

Police released video of the suspect (below) 

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

All calls are strictly confidential.


The NYPD Police released video of the suspect caught from several differant cameras.

Read More:

New York Post - October 7, 2015 - By Dana Sauchelli  

Mystery As Dog Is Found Dead In Central Park

The owner holds his dead dog on a park bench at 109th Street and Central Park West last night while being questioned by police. (Photos: via gothamist)


By Geoffrey Croft

The police are investigating the mysterious death of a dog last night in Central Park that the owner believed was shot.

"Duke," a black labrador retriever was found by his sixty-five year owner after he let the dog off the leash and lost sight of him for a short period, according to police.     

The owner said he was walking the dog in the park, at 110th Street near Central Park West, near his apt.  shortly after 10 p.m. last night. 

He continued to walk south on a pedestrian path where he spotted Duke rolling down a grassy hill in convulsions.  The dog had a deep wound on the top of he head and below his right eye. 

He called 911 to reported his "dog had been shot." 

When police arrived they found no evidence of gunfire and no reports of gunshots in the area were reported. The owner admitted he didn't hear a shot and didn't see anyone else in the park and didn't have sight of the dog when he was injured. 

A necropsy is being performed on the dog today and police hope an x-ray will help determine the cause of death.  

Photographer David Torres says the owner was "visibly shaken" and tried to say good-bye to his dog a final time (when the dog was wrapped in plastic), but police led him away, according to gothamist. 

The owner stands over his dog which police wrapped in plastic.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Comptroller To Brooklyn Bridge Park - Explore Using Bonds To Pay For Capital Improvements

Battle over Pier 6 luxe and affordable housing heats up

The Change Would Dramatically Alter The Park's Current Financial Model 

Rendering of the proposed 31 and 15-story towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is trying to justify the need to build this additional housing to help pay for the park.  The City's Comptroller's office has asked the corporation that oversees Brooklyn Bridge Park to explore the possibility of issuing bonds to finance future capital improvements instead.


By Geoffrey Croft

The office of the City Comptroller Scott Stringer has asked the corporation that oversees Brooklyn Bridge Park to look into the feasibility of issuing bonds to finance future capital improvements. 

If adopted the move would remove Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation's (BBPC) stated rational for developing the controversial Pier 6 project.  Opponents of the housing want the three acres developed into additional parkland. 

Yesterday First Deputy Comptroller Alaina Gilligo wrote to Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn  Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) and raised the issue of whether the corporation can access the municipal bond market for capital needs financing. 

"Since the public hearing on August 6, 2015, the Comptroller's office has received inquries from community stakeholders concerning whether BBPC may use tax-exempt or taxable bonds to finance Brooklyn Bridges Park's capital needs that would then be repaid by BBPC,"  the September 16th letter states. 

"Proponents of bond financing believe that the mechanism could fill the financial gap until the BBPC generates a surplus from concessions and Payment's in Lieu of Taxes ("PILOT'S"). 

The Comptroller's office found that BBPC may be able to issue tax-exempt bonds through an arrangement with a governmental agency to finance park capital improvements. 

"Because BBPC is a New York non-for-profit corporation, it may be able to issue tax-exempt bonds through a conduit governmental agency such as Build NYC Resources Corporation ("Build NYC")  — an arm of the New York City Economic Development Corporation ("EDC") — to finance park capital improvements. "  

The Comptroller's office wrote that the issue requires further analysis and advises BBPC to seek formal outside legal advise.  

Several elected officials who represent the area had asked the Comptroller's office to look into the feasibility of issuing the bonds to cover capital improvements. 

The move would dramatically change the park's current funding model which relies on money generated from real estate, including "PILOT'S",  concessions, and park fees. 

Issuing bonds to finance capital improvements would bring the park in line with the rest of the city park system which the BBPC is unlikely to support voluntarily.  

The corporation claims the funds from the proposed new housing are necessary to ensure the park's long term fiscal stability including maintaining the park's 13, 400 pilings under its piers.  
Open space advocates have long argued that the heavily utilized park should be funded by the government and not by funding schemes. 

The model of paying for the park with housing has been the subject of bitter debate since Mayor Bloomberg wrestled control of the park from the Governor and adopted a "self sustaining" model which has dramatically changed the development and operation of the park.   

Critics also point out that the current funding mechanism creates enormous disparities between the haves and the haves nots, including the well funded Brooklyn Bridge Park and the vast majority of other parks which rely on chronically underfunded municipal funding.  Mayor de Blasio has repeatedly said he was against these disparities. 

Until very recently the General Project Plan (GPP) allowed for building in the park only if a financial need could be demonstrated, which critics maintain they have no done.   

Initially just high-rise luxury housing, Mayor de Blasio added an affordable housing component which the administration had hoped would make the controversial plan easier to swallow. That has not happened.

In June the BBPC awarded the Pier 6 project to developer Robert Levine,  President & CEO of RAL Development Services weeks after Levine donated $10,000 to the mayor’s fundraising committee.  Levine is also the developer of controversial One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

All in the Family:  Prospect Park Alliance flack,  and former New Yorkers for Parks spokesperson James Yolles heads up pr for developer Robert Levine for Risa Heller Communications. Risa tried in vein to help Major League Soccer seize parkland in Flushing Meadow Corona Park to build a new stadium. Belinda Cape,  formerly from State Senator Daniel Squadron office is heading up pr for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation team.  

In May Comptroller Scott Stringer wrote to Regina Myer asking the BBPC provide greater financial transparency including a longer term projections. The office has requested a 50-year  revenue, operating expenses including the capital repair costs projections. 

Read More:

A Walk In The Park -  July 30, 2015 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pope Francis Will Travel Through Central Park Later This Month


By Geoffrey Croft

Pope Francis is expected to greet thousands of visitors in a historic procession through Central Park on September 25th, the city said in a statement.

Tickets are required for the Central Park Procession which is expected to take place along the park’s West Drive between West 72nd and West 60th streets. 

Event will take place after 5:00pm as the pontiff makes his way from Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem to Madison Square Garden.   

New York State residents can enter a lottery to receive two (2) tickets via a ticket giveaway contest.  

Space is limited and entrants will be randomly selected to receive tickets. The Central Park Papal Procession ticket giveaway contest will open on September 3rd and close on September 7th. 

Winners will be notified Sept. 10.

This will be Pope Francis' first visit to the United States.

The German-born Pope Benedict XVI visted St. Joseph's School in Yorkville in April 2008. 

Read More: 

The Wall Street Journal - September 1, 2015 - By Sophia Hollander   

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Man Threatens Park Goers With Guns In Brooklyn Park

The suspect tossing around a football in lower Highland Park this afternoon. (Photos: NYC Park Advocates)


By Geoffrey Croft

Police are looking for a gun-toting man who threatened park goers in a Brooklyn park this afternoon.

Park patrons were stunned to see  several firearms from a man playing football on the soccer field in Highland Park near Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street around noon today.

When the football he was throwing came too close to a woman, her companion asked the man to be careful with the ball. The man responded by lifting up his arms,  which exposed a gun in his front belt. He turned around to show another firearm which he was carrying in the back.

A father with his fifteen-year-old son flagged down park enforcement patrol officers who searched the park. They were joined by multiple NYPD patrol cars who canvased the park with negative results.

"It was scary," said a witness.

"We come here with our families and our kids, he should not be carrying weapons. We were very lucky, you never know what could have happened."

The suspect is described as a black male, six feet, approximately 250 pounds.

The suspect, dressed in jeans and black t-shirt,  running out of the soccer field.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

De Blasio Declines To Join Willets Point West Appeal - Not Due To Preserving Parkland Or Legal Grounds However

The De Blasio administration has elected not to join an appeal by developers over the Willets Point West lawsuit they lost last month. The administration is doing this not in an effort to protect public park land but instead in the hopes of renegotiating better affordable housing terms than the deal struck under Bloomberg the De Blasio administration.  

Related Companies and Sterling Equities are looking to build a 1.4 million square foot mall on 48 acres of mapped parkland in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, west of Citi-Field stadium.  This represents the largest public parkland giveaway in recent history. The proposed Willets Point West Mall project would allow the seizing of the public parkland to be used exclusively for non-park purposes without first getting State Alienation approval as is required under the law.  The construction of such a mall on public parkland would be unprecedented. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)


By Geoffrey Croft

In yet another example of its lack of interest in protecting public parkland the De Blasio administration has declined to support plaintiff's efforts to preserve 48 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.      

In an effort to renegotiate better terms of a terrible Willets Point affordable housing deal struck under Bloomberg the De Blasio administration has chosen not to join an appeal filed by developers over the Willets Point West lawsuit they lost last month, according to Crain's New York Business.

The New York State Appellate Division ruled in favor of plaintiffs, including NYC Park Advocates, who sued to block the city and the Queens Development Group from seizing nearly 48 acres of public parkland in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 

The court ruled that the project violated the Public Trust Doctrine and prevents any construction on parkland from going forward. 

The Queens Development Group - a joint venture between The Related Companies and Sterling Equities, whose owners are New York Met's principle owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz,  are attempting to build a 1.4 million square foot mall as part of a 48 acre project in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 

The proposed mall on parkland however was never part of the original Willets Point development that was approved in 2008. The public land was thrown in to sweeten the deal for developers and was never approved.  

According to the article in Crains, it appears the de Blasio administration is looking to renegotiate the timetable for delivery of affordable housing units in the project, among other things. The Willets Point project, located on the other side of Citi-Field involves clearing 24 acres of auto shops and junkyards, installing infrastructure.

Area residents, open space advocates,  and business owners have long criticized the deal as a giveaway to private developers. 

City Council member, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland,  who helped deliver the project for the developers and the Bloomberg administration,  has indicated she is open to renegotiating to see if the city can get a better deal. 

"We really wanted to see significant improvements that would mean that the public would also see a healthy mix of affordable and market-rate housing, delivered on a real time frame," Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said in a statement to the publication.

"We know a lot has gone into this project, and we hope that this team will continue to work towards that goal with us."

Protecting parkland however is not part of the goal. 

The Related Companies and Sterling Equities just got approval to build this mall on the western parking lot of Citi Field.
Proposed Nightmare - Willets Point West.  

Read More:

De Blasio in stunning about-face on De Blasio Willets Point project
The mayor's decision not to appeal a court ruling threatening the project reveals his attempt to renegotiate terms of the $3 billion redevelopment.
Crain's New York Business - August 19, 2015 -  By Joe Anuta

Court Rejects Parkland Shopping Mall Deal In Flushing Meadows Corona Park
A Walk In The Park - By Geoffrey Croft 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Teens Shot In Riverside Park


Two teenagers are recovering at the hospital after they were shot overnight in Riverside Park in Manhattan.  

Police responded to a 911 call of a shooting around 12:27 a.m. Sunday and found a 19-year-old man shot in the leg and a 17-year-old girl shot in the buttocks around 158th Street and the West Side Highway. 

 The shooting followed a dispute, police said.

 They are searching for a group of men who were seen leaving the location. 

 The victims were taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

Read More:

Teens shot in Riverside Park overnight after dispute
WPIX - August 9, 2015 - By Julia Jacobo     

WABC - August 9, 2015