NYC drug users shoot in broad daylight in Midtown
The Garment District is Gotham’s newest shooting gallery, a disturbing heroin hotspot for addicts who come up in broad daylight.
The outgoing de Blasio government appears unwilling or unable to tackle the crisis as the quality of life disaster strikes just steps from high-profile Midtown attractions like Macy’s, Madison Square Garden and the sparkling new Moynihan Train Hall.
The block lined with 35th and 36th Streets, Seventh and Eighth Avenues is “littered with used needles, broken glass tubing, trash, urine and feces” as junkies skyrocket and dealers boldly sell drugs. complained a neighbor on social media. âI’ve personally seen dozens of deals go under. I saw a person OD and almost died. “
During a single walk around the block last week, The Post saw three different people inject needles into their wrists or fingers in the middle of the afternoon. Every addict sat on the sidewalk or in empty shop fronts. Dozens of other junkies were sitting or nearly in a coma, many of the shirtless men, on the same block.
“We are appalled and disgusted with the drug use and other illegal behaviors that are taking place on our sidewalks in Midtown Manhattan and across New York City,” Barbara Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance, told The Post. “We fought to put an end to this crisis, but unfortunately our city officials have failed to address the problem and have allowed this public disorder to continue.”
Drug dealers seem fearless to operate on the block. A group of men, one of whom was on a blue Citibike, gathered outside the ACE subway entrance on the northeast corner of Eighth and 35th Streets, exchanging cash and other items as straphangers went up the stairs and on them snap down.
Another deal went down when two men traded cash and small plastic bags on 36th Street.
The NYPD only appears to have a symbolic presence. Two police officers stood on Eighth Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets, leaning against a police car while staring into their phones as illegal activity swirled around them.
But the police were “effectively ordered” by city and state leaders to let junkies roam free, said Manny Gomez, a former NYPD sergeant and FBI special agent who now runs MG Security Services.
Possessing needles or small amounts of heroin, or injecting drugs are not a criminal offense under state law. Even if addicts are arrested, they are usually back on the streets and are unlikely to face prosecution.
Gomez says that without the support of political leaders, police officers also face unnecessary personal risks. Those risks include the risk of being stabbed by emotionally disturbed, needle-wielding junkies who may be infected with HIV, and the fact that NYC became the first community in the country to end qualified police immunity earlier this year.
If an arrest of a violent drug addict gets bad, Gomez said the officer âcould lose his pension, job, home or even freedom. It’s just not worth it. “
As a result, “New York City became the city of The Walking Dead,” said Michael Alcazar, associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former NYPD detective.
âThis is the worst block there has ever been,â wrote the neighbor in his social media post. “The people live here, and although they report the NYPD and ask to patrol this block more, they are doing nothing to catch these dealers.”
In the Midtown South Precinct, which covers the drug-ravaged area, crime is up 42 percent this year through September 12, compared to the same period in 2020, NYPD data shows. The crime wave includes a shocking increase in gun violence. Ten people have been hit by bullets so far this year, compared to just one person last year.
The sobering scorecard also shows that robberies have soared 182 percent (268) from 2020 (95) this year; and criminal assaults rose 163 percent (326 out of 124). There were two murders compared to one last year.
The rampant hard drug use in the heart of Midtown comes as New York City finds itself in the midst of a deadly opioid crisis “terribly neglected” by the de Blasio administration and other leaders, Luke Nasta, executive director of Camelot Counseling, said for a long time Substance Abuse Treatment Center on Staten Island.
He says the permissive approach of leaders here and around the country to “coddle people who are addicted to drugs and make more drugs (like methadone) available to them,” coupled with an effort to handcuff law enforcement agencies has only served to “Open the floodgates of substance 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 crisis “has never been so widespread and visible as it is now”.
A “tidal wave” of synthetic methamphetamines and deadly fentanyl made in Mexican laboratories and shipped to New York City only exacerbated the opioid crisis, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported earlier this year.
The city suffered 1,446 overdose deaths in the first three quarters of 2020, the last period for which data is available, a 38 percent increase in deaths from OD in 2019, according to a report from the city health department.
âThis is a city problem. How did the city erode so quickly? âAsked Alcazar. “With a lack of treatment and open drug use … the city has lost its focus.”
Meanwhile, a neighborhood that’s usually filled with tourists from around the world roaming between Penn Station and Times Square is the newest symbol of New York’s decline into decay and disarray.
“It is absolutely critical that our elected officials take immediate action to remove these people from the streets and keep all residents, staff and visitors safe as we work to rebuild New York City from the pandemic,” Blair said . “This change is long overdue.”