Morning Bulletin: Fruitless Fruit Vendor, Drugs in Parks, More on Homicide

Photo by @nycwestside.

November 11, 2019 Weather: Cloudy, with a high of 59 degrees.

Concerts, readings, and other local events are on our calendar!

Today marks the 100th annual Veteran’s Day Parade, which is on 5th Avenue.

Volunteers are needed for Goddard Riverside’s big book sale this month. “Volunteers needed! Grab a shift and help make this Book Fair the most successful ever. We especially need people next Saturday 11/16 and the following Sunday, 11/24.” Sign up here:

A fruit vendor on 67th and Broadway has almost no fruit to sell, and it’s been like that for weeks. “Despite the nonexistent inventory, Mohamed Ismaiel proudly mans his ghost stand from dawn until late evening, doling out the few bananas on hand for free…Ismaiel refused to speak about his situation, but his Facebook page points to conspiracies involving the “Turkish mafia” and “a war” that began when he pushed two carts together. Vito Rappa, who owns Francesco’s Pizza, cobbled together a few people to loan Ismaiel more than $40,000 last year so he could go out on his own.” But Ismaiel complains that competitors have made it tough to stay in business because they keep lowering prices.

The shelter on 83rd Street where 22-year-old Geronal Washington was killed on Sunday is run by a controversial nonprofit. “Mr. Washington’s death has also added renewed scrutiny to the nonprofit, Acacia Network Housing Inc., that operates the shelter where he was stabbed. Acacia is one of the largest providers of homeless housing in New York City and has been mired in controversy over its security practices…In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that the nonprofit’s executives had failed to disclose ties to a for-profit security company, SERA Security Services, that it had hired to provide security at some of the shelters. The city then began investigating Acacia, which has received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts from the city since 2010.”

Columbia University is one of the country’s richest nonprofits. “Columbia University landed at the ninth spot nationwide, and first in New York, with $1 billion in cash donations last year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the country’s 100 favorite charities based on the dollar amount of donations.”

Drug arrests have fallen in city parks, including Riverside, but some residents think that drug use is up. “In Riverside Park on the Upper West Side, Carin Gilfry said her 2-year-old daughter found tiny, brightly colored vial caps that appeared to be coated in drug residue. They resemble pieces of a child’s toy. ‘Luckily, I grabbed them from her before she could put them in her mouth,’ Gilfry recalled. ‘You can overdose on a few grains of fentanyl. If that was fentanyl, my kid could be dead.’ Cops nabbed 20 people for drugs in the 267-acre park through Oct. 15 of this year — an average of 0.48 arrests per week. Arrests totaled 48 in 2018, with a weekly average of 0.92, and 174 in 2017, an average of 3.3 per week.” Some are skeptical, however, of the idea that the mother found Fentanyl.

NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Bananamom says:

      I loved that fruit guy and didn’t know he moved a block over. He always gave my kids free bananas. What’s going on with him?! Can we help??

    2. UWSider says:

      Riverside Park smells like its Haight-Ashbury during the summer of love. I’ve got no issue in general with people smoking pot but a little bit of enforcement would be nice so it wasn’t blatantly happening around where little kids are playing.

    3. Minding My Own Business says:

      Re drugs in the parks: This is, in part, why people take glowing crime reports with such a grain of salt. Fewer arrests does not equate to less drug use, and when ordinary citizens going about their daily business can attest to that via the eyeball test, you can know there’s a problem. Who you gonna believe, CompStat or your lyin’ eyes?

      In addition to the parks listed in the Post piece, add the North Woods to the list. Not reported in the WSR was the recent attempted armed-mugging of a woman walking through the North Woods by a parolee with multiple convicitions.

      You can also see the same “brightly colored vial caps” littering areas all over the North Woods, and an intermittent parade of shady, shifty-looking characters loitering in the park in various states of consciousness.

      Nor is it necessarily uncommon to happen upon the occasional male-female transactional coupling in progress, which makes it less surprising to stumble across prophylactic wrappers, lube tubes, marital aid packaging, countless undergarments, a small mountain of mini-liquor bottles, and a stray straight razor or two.

      The only thing you NEVER see in the North Woods is foot patrols by NYPD. What precisely are those NYPD vehicles idling on the 102nd St crossing looking for? Joggers running too fast? Getting out of those SUVs and walking through the woods a couple of times a day would clear those areas out quickly. A little police presence would go a long way.

      It would also probably be helpful to have some type of outreach initiative by substance abuse specialists and social workers for trafficked sex workers and homeless youth.

      • Mark P says:

        Sadly, I agree that North Woods is not safe. I say sadly because it is beautiful, the place in the park where you can feel closest to nature and away from the city. But I do not feel safe there by myself, in broad daylight, having been followed by shady characters on more than one occasion, albeit not recently – because I won’t go there anymore.

      • Mark P says:

        And here’s the article Mind My mentions:

        2pm. Disgusting. Reminds me of one of my own experiences – a dog walker clearly more familiar with the environment than I warned me that two young men were stalking me. I didn’t believe her at first. I agree, there shoudl be patrols. Unacceptable that we can’t be safe in broad daylight in Central Park, no matter where it is.

    4. Annie says:

      Does anyone know what happened to the man who used to sit on 66th Street outside Century 21? I can’t think of his name. He has been there for years and now has disappeared.

    5. Billy Amato says:

      Today in Central Park was Awesome! I would say One of the top five autumn days of the Season.
      Zac and I had the greatest 4 hours throughout one of the most colorful parks in the world.

    6. Will says:

      Y’all must have not been around for the bandshell days. Parkies kept Central Park very green.

    7. Jerry says:

      Information about the Shelter located at 106 W 83rd St between Columbus and Amsterdam is very concerning. This is not a safe place for the residents there or for the neighborhood. Representatives from Precinct 20 have recently and in the past described this shelter as a halfway home. This shelter was found out trying to rent apartments through airbnb, at the time it was also described as a halfway home for recently released inmates with serious criminal records.

    8. Cherna says:

      The fruit guy is very odd. Not quite sure what he is about. Non stop on his phone, has nothing to sell. I reported his activity to the local police station. “when you see something say something”..