We received another report from this weekend of violence between young men in the west 90’s. In recent weeks, residents and police have reported that young men, possibly in gangs, have been getting into fights in the West 90’s. At least one incident involved gunfire. Police had said at one meeting that the incidents involve gangs from housing projects in the 90’s and the Frederick Douglass Houses between 100th and 104th street.

A reader who lives nearby sent in the photo above taken at 92nd and Columbus on Sunday, saying that young men were throwing glass bottles and brandishing large pieces of wood threatening each other.

“There have been several violent incidents in recent weeks occurring on Columbus Avenue. Last night [Sunday] was the latest incident, which included approximately 30 young men.

[Editors’ note: we have retracted the statement on the origins of this incident.]  It escalated into a larger group, and two uniformed police tried to enter the fray.  The men then scattered uptown towards 96th & Columbus and onto 92nd Street and Amsterdam Ave. As the situation progressed,  there were about 4 police vans and 10 squad cars that arrived on scene. The night was altogether quiet afterward but it seems every week there is a similar issue with these groups of young men.

A police helicopter flew over the specific area from last night a few times late this afternoon. I think there are issues growing between NYCHA on 92nd street on Columbus and Douglass Houses on W 100 Street. I m hoping that NYPD considers a sting operation like the one recently actioned on NYCHA on 122nd street. No neighborhood needs to live in fear and intimidation. So sad.”

We left a message on this issue for Captain Marlon Larin at the 24th precinct but never heard back.

For people concerned about these issues, and any other police issues in the area above 86th street (including recent arrests at the homeless shelter on 95th street), the monthly community council meeting for the 24th precinct is this Wednesday at 7 p.m. An officer tells us it will be held at the Bloomingdale Library, 150 West 100th street. If you don’t see anyone there, check in at the precinct across the street.

It’s worth showing up if you have any concerns to air, or if you’d just like to listen. These meetings are often the only chance to check in with police about what’s going on.

NEWS | 56 comments | permalink
    1. Hanna says:

      This is why i can’t wait to move to the burbs after 20 yrs in nyc. Thanks diblasio!

      • George says:

        how is this DiBlasio’s fault?

        • WD says:

          Say hello to the end of Stop, Question and Frisk.

        • Anthony says:

          While this incident of course can’t be traced to DiBlasio per se, he is undermining the tactics, put into place by Giuliani, that reduced crime dramatically in NYC. DiBlasio will also cause business to flee NYC, thus reducing not only revenue but also employment.
          He is a worthy rival to Obama, under whose regime all…but especially black unemployment, has skyrocketed.

          • Bruce says:

            The empirical evidence is that crime in NYC is down since de Blasio became mayor. People who make rash judgements about our mayor are basing them on ideology and emotion rather than intellect and objective analysis. In addition, it’s just too soon to decide if this decrease in crime has anything to do with de Blasio. It’s not rational to make him responsible, negatively or positively, for 5 months of crime statistics.

            It’s also very common (as can be seen on readers comments to this article) to attribute most of the crime decrease during Guliani’s tenure to Guliani. A very cogent analysis by economists Levitt and Dubner, in their book, “Freakanomics,” disagree, giving Guiliani a comparatively small amount of credit. Other societal trends occurring during this time period played a much greater role. This is another example of ideology and emotion playing a role in inaccurate analysis of history and issues.

            • Nick P says:

              Thank you

            • Brenda says:

              The neighbors are on the right track. Take pictures and video’s and turn them over to NYPD. Once the police have those, they can do their jobs.

            • bobbo says:

              Crime is not down since DeBlasio became mayor. It stayed on par in his first several months in office only because we had a terrible winter which kept people off the streets. In fact if you look at the compstat numbers that they make available you will see that over the past two months there is an alarming 43% uptick in shootings alone. Also while Rudy is not the only reason crime decreased he is certainly a major part of it a long with his police commissioners who initially employed the “broken windows” theory which focused on quality of life crimes and coupled that with compstat to assist in flooding certain areas with policing. Although personally Rudy is not my cup of tea he was the right guy at the right time and helped restore this city to greatness. I was here twenty years ago and now as a parent raising children in the city I certainly do not want to go back to the old days.

          • Mike says:

            We are all dumber for having read that.

      • LG says:

        In his office on the 14th floor of Police Headquarters, William J. Bratton displays copies of his memoir, “Turnaround,” his account of taming New York’s crime-filled streets and subways in the 1990s. On a mostly empty wall hangs a framed Time magazine cover from 1996, declaring over a steely photo of Mr. Bratton: “Finally, We’re Winning the War Against Crime. Here’s Why.”

        The main “crises” he describes now, six months into his second tour as New York City police commissioner, are less likely to bring declarations of victory: frayed relations in minority communities; a department facing increased oversight; the ever-present threat of terrorism.

        He is acutely aware of predictions that crime would rise in a post-stop-and-frisk New York run by a liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, and Mr. Bratton accepts that, in many ways, his mandate is to bolster public confidence that the city will remain safe.

        “A lot of this,” Mr. Bratton said, is about “effectively trying to just calm everybody down: ‘Hey, it’s going to be fine. The city is not going to fall apart. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are not riding into town to rape and plunder.’ ”
        As commissioner in 1994, William J. Bratton found a city with high crime rates. Now crime is not a big issue, he said recently. Credit Dith Pran/The New York Times

        For a quarter century, in police departments on both coasts, Mr. Bratton has made a name for himself based largely on a “broken windows” theory of policing, an aggressive approach to maintaining order by pursuing low-level offenses like vandalism as a means of preventing serious crime.

        But on his return to New York, he is searching for ways to apply that same playbook, developed in the high-crime early 1990s, to a safer city filled with New Yorkers who have never known it any other way.

        He has looked for blight in Manhattan and found little to report. He has marveled that grievances about noise are now a leading complaint from residents in Washington Heights, an area he associates with the violent drug gangs of an earlier time. “Crime is not, interestingly enough, a big issue at this time in the city,” he said in a recent interview.

        The city is a vastly different place than Mr. Bratton knew in the 1990s. In 1994, his first year as police commissioner, there were 17,422 robberies in Manhattan alone and 1,561 homicides across the city. This year through Sunday, there have been just over 7,000 robberies citywide and 123 killings.

        But Mr. Bratton, 66, is not veering from his focus on low-level offenses. Rather he is doubling down, although for different reasons.

        If two decades ago Mr. Bratton championed the zealous pursuit of subway fare beaters, he did so partly because it led to the arrest of more serious criminals: In those crime-plagued years, one in 21 turnstile jumpers was found to have a weapon. Now his attention to minor offenses is more about banishing the specter of disorder.

        Crime endures in the city, but it often differs from what he faced last time around. Heroin is resurgent, but users are now more frequently found in Staten Island houses than derelict shooting galleries. Youth gangs rarely battle over drug turf, but engage in “violence for violence sake,” Mr. Bratton has said with a kind of disgusted wonder.

        While homicides are down, shootings are up 11 percent so far this year to 456, an increase that has been seized upon by his critics, and those of the mayor.

        But in the interview, Mr. Bratton spoke with evident frustration at how each uptick in violence has been treated as evidence that public safety was slipping. “That’s something that we had to address and the mayor has to continually keep addressing because everybody is still waiting and watching,” he said.

        “God forbid we had 30 more shootings than we had last year,” he added. “People tend to forget what this place looked like in the 1990s.”

        For Mr. Bratton the present reality is best tackled with what he sees as a time-tested approach, signaling for officers to go after highly visible conditions such as subway begging and graffiti. And he is resisting an effort by the Brooklyn district attorney to be more lenient with low-level marijuana offenders.

        He has even sought to brand the “showtime” performers who dance in train cars — or as Mr. Bratton often calls them, the subway “acrobats” — as resonant symbols of disorder, much as he once did with the squeegee men of a generation ago. “You’re seeing activity directed against the acrobats, against the aggressive beggars, soaring,” he said.

        He announced with satisfaction the arrest last week of a Long Island man accused of routinely spray painting on highway overpasses and walls in Queens. (Graffiti along the Long Island Expressway has come under particular scrutiny from Mr. Bratton, who gets a close view of the vandalism as he returns from his weekend home in the Hamptons.)

        “I get criticized about: ‘What are you going after graffiti for? We’ve got kids killing each other.’ ” Mr. Bratton said. “It’s just this sense of, in public spaces, who’s in control?”

        When he reflects on his policing career, Mr. Bratton speaks in terms of big challenges he has overcome — helping to turn the tide against crime in New York in the early 1990s, and a decade later to remake a Los Angeles Police Department, which had come to be defined by brutality and racism.

        He can seem at times cramped by the challenges enumerated for him by Mr. de Blasio, who campaigned on reducing and reforming the stop-and-frisk tactic, the aggressive use of which led to new court oversight and the City Council to create an inspector general for the department. While the mayor hailed Mr. Bratton as the right leader to carry out changes to the stop-and-frisk policy, Mr. Bratton soon began describing the issue as moot, pointing out that by the end of the Bloomberg administration, officers had abandoned it as a tactic.

        Mr. Bratton has also grown quieter about Mr. de Blasio’s signature public safety initiative — reducing traffic deaths.

        With less fanfare, Mr. Bratton has embarked on several new initiatives, including detectives focused on cellphone theft and cybercrime and a push aimed at those who disable MetroCard machines and sell swipes to desperate straphangers.

        He said he wants the department to embrace so-called predictive policing, which uses data streams to anticipate crime patterns or allocate police resources. Already, the department is looking back at the hours before every shooting to see which 311 complaints and 911 calls for minor events — loud music playing, crowds gathering — preceded the violence and, if addressed in the future, could help head it off.

        Mr. Bratton has brought in familiar non-officers from his past postings: John Linder, who is working on the “re-engineering” of the department, as he did in 1994; John Miller, a former reporter, to head the department’s intelligence and counterterrorism efforts; and Zachary Tumin, the co-author of Mr. Bratton’s book on leadership, to direct efforts on data-driven policing and social media.

        But one of his most urgent priorities in the wake of the political and legal fight over stopping and frisking has been improving morale in what he describes as an “unhappy organization.”

        To that end, he has traveled the city, shaking hands with patrol officers, adding his signature to their memo books. Last month during a late-night tour of the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, he stopped by the station house in the neighboring 49th Precinct at 1 a.m. on a whim. “A lot of my role at this juncture in this department is personal touching of the cops and the public,” he said.

        Indeed, Mr. Bratton is trying to find new ways to improve the public’s confidence in the Police Department. Soon, he said, the department will regularly conduct a 10-question survey with 200 residents in each precinct to “ask the old Ed Koch thing, ‘How am I doing?’ ”

        At his direction, precinct commanders have taken to Twitter. It is part public relations and part responding to citizens’ everyday complaints to build a better relationship with the public.

        But Mr. Bratton has also encouraged his precinct commanders to make more decisions on their own, potentially leading to conflicts if, say, the dictates of a computer algorithm do not align with the approach taken by a local commander.

        A situation like that presented itself in the 47th Precinct during Mr. Bratton’s visit last month, when the area was leading the city in homicides.

        By design, teams of young officers sent to handle crime spikes as part of the decade-old Operation Impact are assigned to high-crime zones determined by analytics at headquarters — and can be moved only after a lengthy approval process.

        But the commander of the 47th Precinct, Ruel R. Stephenson, said the system limited his ability to respond to pockets of crime as they cropped up around the sprawling precinct.

        After the precinct commander described the situation, Mr. Bratton instructed his new chief of patrol, James O’Neill, to fix it.

        He then set off for a midnight tour of the unfamiliar north Bronx terrain where shootings have doubled this year. “Very clean, orderly,” he observed later. “No vacant buildings.”

        • Sassy Lou says:

          …meanwhile “Freakonomics” proved through data of state by state implementiation of Roe v Wade that the crimes rates suddenly dropped in the same succession in those states made abortion accessbile. It turns out when women are ready with the resources and time to have children…you have less crime. It took 18-25 years to see the results happen..approximately for a generation to age into adulthood. Hmmmmmm. Had nothing to do with police work or stop n frisk! In fact, I think the police were going through a “We have to validate our jobs” in NYC and started implementing Quotas to show some counterforce data. Oooopps DOH!!!!

      • Christina says:

        This has been going on way before DiBlasio.

    2. Bruce Bernstein says:

      from the description, it sounds like the NYPD was on top of it immediately.

    3. KH says:

      I live on 95th between Broadway and WEA. The smell of marijuana is a freqent occurence. Two weeks ago a man urinated on a tree mere steps from our front door at 4 PM in the afternoon.

      We need help from our politicians and stepped up police presence (not just a random sweep).

      • Paul RL says:

        Agreed, KH. We can’t simply hope that the police will arrive quickly for every incident, or that an occasional random sweep is a cure-all. This is a growing problem that needs to be continually addressed in a
        proactive way. Sooner or later, a bystander is going to get caught in the crossfire of this nonsense. This should not be acceptable to anyone who lives in the neighborhood.

      • JD says:

        You should have thrown a water balloon at him.

      • Sassy Lou says:

        What’s wrong with Marijuana and peeing? You gotta do what you gotta do. I don’t see a lot of public toilets on the UWS do you?

    4. john says:

      How is it NOT DiBlasio’s fault?
      See the homeless all over the streets, the filthy park, and NO STOP AND FRISK! Shootings up 50%. Ummm, whose fault is that?

      • Elisa Koizumi says:

        Stop and Frisk has been on the table, and in question long before DiBlasio came into office.
        As for the homeless, that is without doubt a Bloomberg issue. Homelessness rose steadily during his 12 year tenure, undisputed.
        We all know that 6months in office is too short a time to have any affect. Why do you think Bloomberg wanted to stay in office so long?
        As we continue to displace neighborhoods and make way for a singular sector of society, intolerance grows on both sides. the comments here, which are mild, indicate inolerance. The mere smell of marijuana – heaven forbid, sound the alarms, call the police, hide the children.

        • Jason says:

          That is 100% correct, if you smell pot you should call the cops and hide the kids, because behind the smell is a criminal, and perhaps a dangerous one. Anybody who smokes in public has no respect for the law, why should we think that our children are safe around that person? This was clearly written by somebody who does not have kids.

          • JM says:

            Smoking pot doesn’t make you a criminal. There’s a total pothead on my floor who is the nicest young man around. Daddy bought him the apartment, but he has a job. I don’t appreciate that the hall reeks of pot sometimes, but we just let him know to open the windows. I also know plenty of people who smoke pot and are highly functional members of society- lawyers etc… I don’t like the stuff myself, but I don’t believe it’s linked to criminality.

            • Jason says:

              It is linked to criminality because it is in and of itself criminal. We can have an honest debate regarding whether it should be, but at least for now, it is. It is a criminal act and if there is a person committing a criminal act on the street, whether it’s smoking pot or breaking into cars it cannot be condoned, and it poses a risk to our neighborhood. You cannot commit a crime under the guise of “well it’s not a bad crime and he’s a nice guy. . .”

        • webot says:

          Elisa, you poopoo the pot smoking.

          What are your thoughts on the photo above of the fighting in the street?

          Is this somehow cool, edgy? retro 80s?

    5. Halbert says:

      I don’t recall having this level of violence and disturbance when Bloomberg was in office. Perhaps DeBlasio shouldn’t have removed some of the NYPD’s tools from their toolkit…

      • Steve says:

        or maybe we can take off the PC gloves and acknowledge that housing projects contribute to crime in a neighborhood, just as a matter of fact. Then, and here’s a real stretch, maybe people that commit crimes should lose their taxpayer-financed housing status.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          “maybe people that commit crimes should lose their taxpayer-financed housing status.”

          so you know the rules on convicted felons in NYCHA housing? it might be nice to look those up.

          • Steve says:

            How well do those rules work when it’s almost always the mother, aunt, or grandmother’s name on the lease? If you have a history of committing crime, you should not be given the luxury of free housing, even by proxy. And there should be consequences for those relatives that shelter them. Enact a rule like that, and I’ll bet you the crime in NYCHA housing areas goes down real fast.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              so it’s your feeling that if a son or daughter gets out of prison, a mother cannot let him stay in her apt “for free”? i would like to see how you justify that, constitutionally.

          • I love Bruce says:

            Thanks so much for all of your comments. You so help fight the vitriolic racists on this site. Keep up the good work.

            Thanks 🙂

    6. webot says:

      that pic shows a lot more then 2 young men.

      just sayin’

      what can you expect. the NYCHA projects are warehousing for the poor and disenfranchised. intergenerational poverty does no one good , the people and society at large. They need to be welcomed and integrated into mainstream society , with jobs , education and an understanding that this is not acceptable behavio. They need to be rethought, torn down and replaced with a mix of low, middle and market housing for all, mixed with commercial uses – basically a restoration of the true cityscape. Other cities have done this to great success – for all. (Chicago, Newark)

      Unfortunateley the extreme left wing that controls this City will not even have a conversation about it. Personally I think that is racist- thinking they are somehow different and do not know better. Nothing is further from the truth. You should expect the same from them as everyone else in the City.

    7. Jeff says:

      Kind of concerned that so many people do not know how to spell our mayor’s name. It’s Bill de Blasio. Not DiBlasio. Not DeBlasio. Little d, followed by an e, then a space.

      • webot says:

        Since you brought it up, his birth name is Warren Wilhelm.

        I do find it eyebrow raising that someone would change both their first and last name.

        just sayin’

        • Jeff says:

          Not eyebrow-raising when you consider the context, per Wikipedia:

          De Blasio has stated that his father first left home when he was seven years old and, shortly after, his parents divorced.[9] In a 2012 interview, de Blasio described his upbringing: “[My dad] was an officer in the Pacific in the army, [and fought] in an extraordinary number of very, very difficult, horrible battles, including Okinawa…. And I think honestly, as we now know about veterans who return, [he] was going through physically and mentally a lot…. He was an alcoholic, and my mother and father broke up very early on in the time I came along, and I was brought up by my mother’s family—that’s the bottom line—the de Blasio family.”[10] In September 2013, de Blasio revealed that his father committed suicide in 1979 while suffering from incurable lung cancer.[11]

          In 1983, he changed his name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm, which he described in April 2012: “I started by putting the name into my diploma, and then I hyphenated it legally when I finished NYU, and then, more and more, I realized that was the right identity.” By the time he appeared on the public stage in 1990, he was using the name Bill de Blasio as he explained he had been called “Bill” or “Billy” in his personal life.[10] He did not legally change over to this new name until 2002, when the discrepancy was noted during an election.[12]

    8. Kate says:

      Why are those projects even there? Remove them entirely and the crime will plummet.

    9. Halbert says:

      It’s not worth knowing the spelling of his name. He’ll be gone in three years (or I will from a stray bullet through my den window).

    10. UWS Mom says:

      UWS in the 90’s -100’s is so OVER.
      You can’t even send your children out for an ice cream without fear of being hit with a bottle or worse, shot. We had a bottle miss us by inches that was thrown from a high-floor housing project window on Amsterdam. What’s the chance police could fund them?
      Nothing new, just increasingly escalated.
      Tear down the projects and the SRO’s and send anyone with an arrest record to Staten Island. Then, build decent housing for those just trying to raise their families in peace and safety.
      Until that happens, families with the means to do so will continue to move out to other neighborhoods and beyond. I know of at least a dozen that have in the past six months alone, and more planning it.
      Why continue to live with crime, poor school choices and filthy streets if you’d rather not? If that’s your choice (or maybe understandably stuck), it’s not my place to judge.
      I rest my case. Bash away Gomez, Bruce, webot, ScooterStan, UWS Dad etc.; I won’t respond:)

      • whatsupduck says:

        For the love of dog, can I get you a copy of Foucault’s Discipline & Punish?

      • UWS Mom says:

        whoops, meant to say “What’s the chance police could FIND them” not “FUND” them. The 24 does a good job with what they’ve got and doubt they’ve given up to that point:)

      • JM says:

        The projects have been there long before the area began to gentrify- recommending that they’re torn down is a very shortsighted approach to the inequities of our city. See webot’s comment above. They’re on the money.

    11. wade says:

      With shootings and non-murderous crimes increasing..this so called mayor is worried about marching in gay parades or singing foolishness on some talk show…the streets are filthy,more crazy homeless,sidewalks and streets littered with potholes..I could go on & on with the shit I see lately since this clown was “elected”.

      • you are incorrect, sir! says:

        none of what you stated is true. They are not increasing. rather, they are DECREASING.

    12. Jeremy says:

      At least those guys weren’t keeping rent controlled tenants from using the new gym in their building. Our electeds would be all over that travesty of gentrification.

    13. Wilhelm says:

      The other night we witnessed a fight between about 10 teenage boys and 2 older men from our fire escape on Amsterdam in the west 90s. That same night we saw a boy running carrying a woman’s purse that he snatched on Columbus and 94th. He was found by the police, and several arrests were made for the fight.

      I’m fairly new to the area, is this level of crime common in the summer on the UWS?

      • whatsupduck says:

        It depends. Were the two groups of young men walking towards each other while snapping, while one proclaimed his love for Maria?

        That area always had more crime than other areas of the UWS. This dipped for a bit in the 2000s, and has seen a gradual rise since the economic downturn a few years ago.

      • yes says:

        yes, crime always happens. But just look at the actual crime statistics. you’ll se that all the people on here who say everything is “increasing” are wrong. Everything is actually DECREASING

    14. Jeremy says:

      BTW, I wonder if those people who bought into the Mirabeau at 165 W 91st recently are second-guessing their decisions. Seems like a very questionable investment at this point.

    15. KG says:

      While it may be too early to say that deBlasio’s policies are making NYC less safe, I’m pretty sure that these thugs wouldn’t be walking around with such impunity on Columbus Ave and 90’s in broad daylight, if Stop and Frisk was still around. And if someone wants to tell me that Stop and Frisk was racist and discriminated unfairly against minorities, then maybe we need to have another look at the picture above.
      Safe streets is not a liberal or conservative issue, or a rich or poor issue, or a black or white issue, it should be the expectation of every responsible American. While we wait for these generational economic changes to take place that integrate disenfranchised minorities into the mainstream, we need a strong law enforcement (through good deterrence) if we expect the rest of the taxpayers to co-exist with these low cost housing projects or homeless shelters in our neighborhoods. If Stop and Frisk is not the answer, then Bratton and deBlasio need to come up with something better real quick, because civil rights of young misguided individuals do not trump the safety of law abiding citizens.

    16. sam says:

      I agree with uwsmom here, this behavior is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. The problem is that there isn’t a simple solution. I feel that if you’re living in a housing project getting a reduced rent you should be obligated to behave yourself. If you fail to do this, you should get kicked out, end of story.

      What’s it going to take for this to stop? Maybe an innocent 20 something killed in crossfire? It’ll be shame if that has to happen before we wake up and admit there is a major problem going on.

    17. ;laksdjflsdkjf says:

      The repeal of Stop and Frisk has been the best thing for the gangs. De Blasio, get some balls. This is affecting real tax paying residents in the UWS.

    18. West Sider says:

      Okay, we’re closing the comments on this post. There are too many nasty comments coming in.
      WSR Tech