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Thursday, October 21, 2021

‘Metropolis of the Strolling {Dead}:’ Junkies shoot up in broad daylight in Midtown

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The Garment District is Gotham’s latest capturing gallery, a disturbing heroin hotspot of addicts capturing up in broad daylight.

The outgoing de Blasio administration seems unwilling or unable to deal with the disaster, because the quality-of-life catastrophe unfolds simply steps from high-profile Midtown landmarks corresponding to Macy’s, Madison Sq. Backyard and the glowing new Moynihan Prepare Corridor.

The block bordered by thirty fifth and thirty sixth streets, and Seventh and Eighth avenues, is “suffering from used needles, damaged glass crack pipes, trash, urine, and feces” as junkies shoot up and sellers openly promote medicine, lamented one neighbor on social media. “I’ve personally seen dozens of offers go down. I’ve seen an individual OD and practically die.”


Throughout a single stroll across the block final week, The Put up witnessed three completely different individuals injecting needles of their wrists or fingers in the course of the afternoon. Every addict sat on the sidewalk or in empty storefronts. Dozens of different junkies sat or lay practically comatose, most of the males shirtless, on the identical block.

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“We’re appalled and disgusted by the drug use and different illicit behaviors which can be happening on our sidewalks in Midtown Manhattan and all through New York City,” Garment District Alliance President Barbara Blair advised The Put up. “Now we have been combating to place an finish to this disaster, nonetheless our metropolis officers have sadly failed to deal with the issue and have allowed this public dysfunction to proceed.”

Drug sellers seem to function fearlessly on the block. A gaggle of males, certainly one of them sitting on a blue Citibike, gathered exterior the A-C-E subway entrance on the northeast nook of Eighth and thirty fifth, exchanging money and different objects as straphangers raced by them up and down the steps.

One other deal went down as two males exchanged money and small plastic luggage on thirty sixth Avenue.  

The NYPD seems to have solely a token presence. Two cops stood on Eighth Avenue between thirty fifth and thirty sixth, leaning up in opposition to a police van whereas staring into their telephones, as illicit actions swirled round them.

However cops have been “successfully ordered” by metropolis and state leaders to let junkies roam free, mentioned Manny Gomez, a former NYPD sergeant and FBI particular agent who now heads MG Safety Companies.


Beneath state regulation, possessing needles or small quantities of heroin, or injecting medicine, are non-bail offenses. So even when arrested, addicts are normally proper again on the road and unlikely to face prosecution.

Gomez says cops face unnecessary private dangers, too, with out the assist of political leaders. These dangers embody the specter of being stabbed by emotionally disturbed, needle-wielding junkies, presumably contaminated with HIV, and the truth that NYC this 12 months grew to become the primary municipality within the nation to finish certified immunity for cops.

If an arrest with a violent drug-addled individual turns dangerous, Gomez mentioned, the cop “might lose their pension, their job, their dwelling and even their freedom. It’s simply not value it.”

Because of this, “New York Metropolis has develop into the town of The Strolling {Dead},” mentioned Michael Alcazar, an adjunct professor at John Jay Faculty of Legal Justice and former NYPD detective. 

“That is the worst this block has ever been,” the neighbor wrote in his social media submit. “Folks dwell right here, and regardless of reporting and pleading with the NYPD to patrol extra down this block, they don’t seem to be doing something to try to catch these sellers.”

Within the Midtown South Precinct, which covers the drug-ravaged space, crime is up 42 p.c this 12 months by means of Sept. 12 in comparison with the identical interval in 2020, NYPD information present. The crime wave features a stunning rise in gun violence. Ten individuals have been hit with bullets to this point this 12 months in comparison with only one individual on the identical level final 12 months.

The sobering scorecard additionally reveals robberies have skyrocketed, with 268 this 12 months in comparison with 95 in 2020; and felony assaults hovering over the identical interval from 124 to 326. There have been two murders, in comparison with one final 12 months.

The rampant use of exhausting medicine within the coronary heart of Midtown comes as New York Metropolis is within the midst of a lethal opioid disaster that has been “terribly uncared for” by the de Blasio administration and different leaders, mentioned Luke Nasta, the manager director of Camelot Counseling, a longtime substance abuse remedy heart on Staten Island.


He says the method by leaders right here and throughout the nation of “coddling individuals who discover themselves depending on medicine and making extra medicine (corresponding to methadone) broadly accessible to them,” coupled with an effort to handcuff regulation enforcement, has solely served to “open up the flood gates of drug abuse, which is why overdose deaths are escalating and we see what we see on the streets.”

Nasta opened Camelot Counseling in 1976 and says the drug disaster has “by no means been as widespread or as seen as it’s now.”

A “tidal wave” of artificial methamphetamine and lethal fentanyl manufactured in Mexican labs and shipped to New York Metropolis has solely exacerbated the opioid disaster, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported earlier this 12 months.

The town suffered 1,446 overdose deaths within the first three quarters of 2020, the final interval for which information is offered, based on a report from the town Well being Division, a rise of 38 p.c from 2019 OD fatalities.

“This can be a metropolis downside. How has the town eroded this far so shortly?” requested Alcazar. “With lack of remedy and open use of medicine … the town has misplaced its focus.”


In the meantime, a neighborhood usually full of the thrill of vacationers from across the globe passing between Penn Station and Instances Sq. is the newest image of New York Metropolis’s descent into decay and dysfunction.

“It’s completely essential that our elected officers take motion instantly to take away these people from the streets and guarantee the security of all residents, workers and guests as we work to rebuild New York Metropolis following the pandemic,” Blair mentioned. “This modification is lengthy overdue.”

Click on here to learn extra on the New York Post.

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