Monday, January 30, 2017

Ten Thousand Rally In Battery Park Against Trump's Immigration Ban - AG's Predict It Will Be Overturned By Courts

An estimated ten thousand people attended Sunday's rally Battery Park to protest Donald Trump's executive order .   (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to inlarge.


An estimated ten thousand people gathered in historic Battery Park to protest the President’s executive order that temporarily prohibits migrants from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States. 

The demonstration featured people from all backgrounds, nationalities and ages. Chants “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,”  “Impeach, impeach, impeach,”  were heard throughout the event.

Thousands of people held signs with many slogans including “America was built by refugees,” and “Muslim ban is un-American,”  “Let them in, let them in.”

The protestors were joined by numerous elected officials  including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senator Chuck Schumer, Sen. Jerry Nadler,  New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and other city and state officials who spoke on a small platform just west of Castle Clinton National Monument.  

Sen. Charles Schumer denounced President Donald Trump’s executive orders calling them bad for America.

 “We are here today to deliver a vociferous, a vociferous no to both the president and those horrible horrible executive orders,” a fired up Schumer told the crowd.  

“They are bad for America, They’re bad for humanity, they are bad for national security and they are bad for everything that is American," he said.

Sign of the Times. Thousands lined the park's pathways holding up hand made messages.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer mentioned the enormous economic value immigrates bring to the City. 

“I do the books,” he said.

Comptroller Stringer also inferred the possibility of Trump getting impeached which brought loud chants of, “impeach, impeach, impeach,” from the crowd.

At Saturday’s rally, organizers announced that Attorney Generals from sixteen states representing “over 130 million American’s” including New York and California signed a letter calling Trump’s order illegal.  

“We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts,” the letter said.   (Full statement below) 

Protesters later marched a mile north through the streets to another Parks Department property, Foley Square, across the street from the Manhattan offices of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Sunday’s protest at Battery Park was co-sponsored by 12 organizations including the New York Immigration Coalition and New York Civil Liberties Union.

It was the second day in a row of large protests. Thousands demonstrated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4 on Saturday.  

On Friday Donald, “grab them by the p***y” Trump signed an Executive Order banning refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and prohibit ones coming from war-torn Syria indefinitely. 

On Saturday night a federal judge in Brooklyn granted an emergency nationwide stay preventing the deportation of immigrants detained at U.S. airports and citizens from the seven countries already in transit to America. 

Her ruling was followed by similar federal judges decisions in California,  Boston, Virginia, and Seattle

U.S House and Senate Democrats will rally on the front steps of the Supreme Court today at 6:00 to protest Trump’s immigration order House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic colleagues.  (Full statement below) 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo offered legal assistance to anyone detained at New York airports,  and vowing to ensure the rights of refugees are protected under the law.

 “We have directed the Port Authority and my counsel’s office to make sure we are protecting the legal rights of any person detained at any of our airports, period,” the governor said at a news conference.

 “We will serve as counsel for any detainee who needs legal assistance,” he said.

Yesterday the Governor also announced the creation of a toll-free, 24 hours a day hotline to offer assistance to refugees left in vulnerable situations at New York area airports.   Loved ones  can report passengers on Incoming flights believed to be missing or detained  

Hotline #  1-888-769-7243

The large crowd making thier way out of the park to head north to Foley Square. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to inlarge.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi letter to Democratic colleagues.  

Attorney General Statement

Friday, January 27, 2017

Former Bronx Parks Commish Hector Aponte Passes Away


Former Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte passed away this week.  (Photo: Robert Rosamilio)   

By Geoffrey Croft

Long time Parks Department employee Hector M. Aponte passed away NYC Park Advocates has learned.

In January 2015 Mr. Aponte retired after nineteen years with the Parks Department, the last ten as Bronx Parks Commissioner, the borough he grew up in.

Mr. Aponte, 74,  began working for the Parks Department in 1995, holding various positions including Parks Manager and director of requirement contracts for  Manhattan parks.  In 2004 he became the Acting Deputy Chief of Operations for Manhattan.

He also worked briefly as the Chief of Operations in Staten Island before returning to the Bronx.

In November 2004, Mr. Aponte was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to serve as the Bronx Parks Commissioner a position he held until his retirement.    

Before joining NYC parks he was the Acting Regional Director of the N.Y. State Office of Parks, Recreation.  He joined state parks in 1987.   

The Parks Department sent out a broadcast email yesterday announcing the passing of Mr. Aponte. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Massive Rotted Oak Tree Crashes Into Home On Staten Island

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
A massive rotted oak tree crashed into a home on Edinboro Rd. in Staten Island on Monday night.  One of the occupants of the house, Rosalie Plevrites, 73,  escaped a potentially fatal injury because she was downstairs watching television when the tree fell.  Her husband was at work. (Photo: Luiz C. Ribeiro/For New York Daily News

Staten Island

A Staten Island woman narrowly escaped death when a massive oak tree crashed into her master bedroom, according to the New York Daily News. 

Rosalie Plevrites ducked a potentially fatal blow from the tree because she was watching television downstairs when the fall occurred at her Lighthouse Hill home at 336 Edinboro Rd. Monday at around 9:30 p.m.

 "I was in the lower den, and I just heard an absolute crash to the house," the retired school teacher told the Daily News.

"It was tremendous ... I thought the house was coming down, it was so intense."

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
The huge Oak tree came crashing down in the master bedroom on Monday.

On Tuesday, limbs and boughs were all over the back deck and yard and part of the roof in the front of the house was caved in. Water from the storm came rushing in to the home shortly after the fall, Plevrites, 73, said.

Fortunately, her husband, Peter, 69, was at work at the restaurant he owns in Queens.

"He would have been in that room, probably," she said.

"Listen, it is scary, but when you think about it, those things do happen," Peter added.

The family is also grateful the Fire Department and a neighbor across the street helped out after the crash.

"We had such immediate attention that I became much more relaxed with the situation," Rosalie said. "I just can't say how fabulous all the assistance was."

Arborist Tom McAuley said the tree is likely between 50 and 60 years old and pointed out that the base of the trunk was rotted.

He warned other homeowners to check the health of trees on their property annually.

“It may be on the back of your mind but this is a good case, you see what can happen,” McAuley said.

Read More:

Massive oak tree crashes into woman's Staten Island home
New York Daily News - January 24, 2017 - By Ellen Moynihan & Reuven Blau

‘There Was Just This Crash:’ Massive Tree Smashes Into Staten Island Home
WCBS -  January 24, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Central Park: Police Seek Suspect Wanted In Robbery & Attempted Sexual Assault

Police are seeking the public's assistance to identify the individual wanted in connection of  a robbery and attempted sexual assault inside Central Park on January 19 at 3:45pm near  the Great Hill at West Drive and East 106th Street. A 26-year-old woman was walking on a trail wearing headphones when she was approached by an unidentified male who grabbed her around the neck, put in a headlock and taken to the ground and where he demanded money and took her cell phone.

The suspect then pulled down his pants and demanded the victim perform a sex act on him. She screamed and two good Samaritans came to her aid.  The suspect is a male, Black, approximately 20-25 years of age, 5'8"-5'9" tall, thin build, medium complexion and close cut black hair.


By Geoffrey Croft

The New York City Police Department is asking the public's assistance identifying the individual depicted in the attached surveillance sketch in regards to a robbery that occurred within the confines of the 22nd Precinct.

On Thursday, January 19, 2017 at approximately 3:45pm, police responded to a 911 call of a robbery inside of Central Park, near West 106 Street and West Drive, within the confines of the Central Park Precinct. 

Upon arrival, officers observed a 26-year-old female with minor contusions to her arms. The female victim refused medical attention at the scene. While walking in the park at West 109 Street and Central Park West, she was approached by an unidentified male who grabbed her around the neck, took her to the ground and demanded her money. 

The victim claimed to have no money and the suspect took her cell phone. The suspect then pulled down his pants and demanded the victim perform a sex act on him. She screamed and two good Samaritans, in the area, ran to her and gave chase to the suspect, who fled northbound to parts unknown.

The individual is a male, Black, approximately 20-25 years of age, 5'8"-5'9" tall, thin build, medium complexion and close cut black hair.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782)

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hero NYPD Officer Steven McDonald - Paralyzed In 1986 Central Park Shooting - Dies at 59

NYPD officer Steven McDonald in 1986, at age 29, the year he was shot and paralyzed in Central Park.  He was shot a year after being assigned to the Central Park Pct and 20 months after becoming a police officer. He was an inspiration to countless officers.


By Geoffrey Croft

Hero NYPD officer Steven McDonald - paralyzed in a Central Park shooting has died.

McDonald, 59, went into cardiac arrest on Friday.

Officer McDonald was paralyzed during a Central Park shooting by a 15-year-old boy near the north end of the park.

Officer McDonald, 29, and his partner were working undercover at about 4:15 p.m. on July 12, 1986.  They were patrolling in a gray unmarked anticrime car when they spotted and began following three “suspicious” youths.  

McDonald followed them onto a wooded path near the Harlem Meer boathouse at 107th St. and East Drive.

One of the boys, 15-year-old Shavod Jones, pulled out a concealed .22 caliber,  “Saturday night special” revolver and fired several shots hitting the officer three times. One bullet hit McDonald in the left side of his neck, shattering into fragments that lodged in his spinal column.  

He collapsed onto the rain-soaked dirt and was rushed to the hospital.

McDonald was left a quadriplegic and unable to breath on his own.

A man of deep faith he publicly forgave the cold-blooded teen eight months after the shooting from his bed at Bellevue Hospital. 

McDonald was appointed to the police on July 16, 1984, and assigned to the Central Park Pct, a yea on July 8, 1985.

McDonald’s wife, Patti Ann McDonald was pregnant at the time with their only child, Conor who was born six months after the shooting. 

Responding police quickly arrested three suspects.  Jones,  the alleged shooter was convicted by a jury in less than two hours and sentenced to 3-1/3-to-10 years, the maximum for a juvenile offender.

 “I feel sorry for him,” McDonald said of Jones.

 “I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life,” he said in a statement read by his wife at his son’s baptism held in a chapel at Bellevue Hospital in early 1987.

McDonald also expressed the hope he could further the dialogue with the offender after he was released from prison to inspire others.

McDonald was a staple at many events in the city throughout the years and was an inspiration to countless officers.

“there is more love in this city than there are street corners, ”  he wrote in his 1989 book, “The Steven McDonald Story.”

A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday, at 9:30 with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.

Read More:

New York Times - January 10, 2017 - By Richard Goldstein 

New York Daily News - January 10, 2017

New York Post -  January 10, 2017 - By Tina Moore, Larry Celona, Shawn Cohen, Lorena Mongelli, Mary Kay Linge and Bruce Golding

Officer Steven McDonald paralyzed from Central Park shooting in 1986
New York Daily News - July 13, 1986 - By  Mike Santangelo and David J. Krajicek

Friday, January 6, 2017

Queens Carjacker Shot In Manhattan Park


By Geoffrey Croft

A vicious criminal wanted by police for kidnapping after he stabbed his victim twenty times during a carjacking was shot in the back on Tuesday in a Harlem park during a counterfeit money scheme gone bad NYC Park Advocates has learned. 

Ramel Christian, 20, of 148th St in Rosedale Queens was shot inside Marcus Garvey Park, on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m,. near 120th Street and 5th Avenue, within the confines of the 25 Pct.

A man caught fleeing the park after the shooting told police he was contacted on Facebook by the victim who said he had $5,000 in counterfeit money he wanted to sell for a discounted price of $2,000.

The man thought that was a good deal and met the victim in the park for the exchange.

He claims they were inside the park talking when he heard a single shot and fled.

He maintains he didn’t know who fired the shot and he was not charged with a crime.

Police found a single 9mm shell casing inside the park.

It remains unclear who is responsible for the shooting. Police have classified the motive as an attempted robbery.

The victim was removed to in stable condition to Harlem Hospital.

At the time of Tuesday's shooting Ramel Christian had an outstanding kidnapping warrant in connection with a carjacking incident in Queens on May 17, 2016. 

A twenty-two-year old was carjacked by three assailants in front of Wendi's at 219-44 Hillside Avenue at 5:30 am.  

Christian tortured his victim to obtain his pin number, stabbing him twenty times according to police.

The victim was found in an alley and brought to Jamaica Hospital where he survived.

The incident occurred within the confines of the 105 pct. in Queens.

Police say Christian faces Robbery, Assault, Grand larceny and Kidnapping charges.

The defendant has not yet been arraigned according to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.

Two others were apprehended a day after the May incident - Iyonna Burton, 19, and Romario Alen, 18. Both were charged with Robbery, Assault, Grand larceny and Kidnapping.

On Tuesday Christian was also arrested on Robbery and Criminal possession of a weapon, charges.  That complaint is sealed.  

He has at least seven arrests on charges including assault, weapons possession and aggravated harassment.