Douglass Houses Gets Renovated Basketball Court as Part of Law Enforcement Program

By Maya Mau

The Douglass Houses NYCHA development between 100th and 104th Streets got a new basketball court this week, paid for mostly by money seized through civil forfeiture from NYPD, DEA and Homeland Security investigations.

The NYPD and DEA aims to renovate 100 new basketball courts and soccer fields across New York City’s five boroughs through the program. The program is a combined effort with organizations like the First Responders Children’s Foundation as part of their “The Power of Play” initiative meant to help kids get some exercise amid the pandemic. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and District Attorney Cy Vance both spoke at the ribbon-cutting on Tuesday.

Earlier in the pandemic, the First Responders Children’s Foundation worked to collect and distribute 500,000 toys to children in over 300 cities across the country with the help of hospitals, fire houses, and police associations as part of their “Toy Express” initiative. Jillian Crane, President of First Responders Children’s Foundation, found out about the project that the New York City law enforcement agencies – whom she had worked with on “Toy Express” – were working on and knew that the organizations could benefit by working together.

“The program to go into communities in New York City that need more safe access to parks was entirely the idea of the NYPD and DEA,” Crane said. “It’s important for there to be a partnership between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

The program also has the support of charity partners such as the House of Mandela Family Foundation and New York City Police Foundation.

The housing projects whose facilities received upgrades were chosen by NYCHA. King Towers (112th & Malcolm X Blvd), another housing project in the neighborhood, is also scheduled to open this June.

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Steen says:

      The sheer joy in the little kids shrieks made my day, but I felt for those teen boys who just wanted half a court to play some hoops, and knew they weren’t going to get it.

      • Party Boy says:

        Chill, Steen. This was like an opening ceremony. There will be plenty of games on the court for the older kids, I’m sure.

        Who’s got next?

        • Stu says:

          Actually the ‘baller’ court that the older kids use is right around the corner on 104th and Columbus. Its a really nice court, with stands and an electric scoreboard. This court doesnt get the same usage. Maybe it will, or not.

          • Party Boy says:

            Ah cool, thanks, I didn’t know that. It’s been a good 10 or so years since I played, so I’m out of the loop.

    2. NYYgirl says:

      Great to see this!

    3. Bob says:

      I’m glad they used this money for a good purpose, but civil forfeiture remains a highly problematic practice that’s directly at odds with Due Process and the presumption of innocence. I worry that spending the money this way is really just meant as a whitewash — and while building a basketball court in the communities disproportionately affected by civil forfeiture is better than buying another police tank, it doesn’t make civil forfeiture any less inconsistent with civil rights.

    4. Lizzie says:

      I love how open the new court is. No chain-link fence! What a great way to use those funds.

      • On the Fence says:

        Clearly spoken like someone who never had to chase down an errant pass, or shoo a pooping dog off the court.

        Fence it already.

    5. Josh P. says:

      Sorry to be a downer but civil forfeiture has huge problems and is frequently used in totally unjust ways.
      Jon Oliver has a good segment about it.

      • Mark P says:

        Thanks for pointing us to that video. I had no idea that civil forfeiture is another power of the police highly susceptible to abuse.

    6. Hoop shooter says:

      Wonderful to see!

    7. Kate says:

      Civil forfeiture is literal theft.

    8. JS says:

      Really glad .
      NYCHA complexes urgently need recreation and green space repairs and improvements.
      This should be city/community focus, not open streets

    9. ben says:

      Gotta love the people that just yell ‘abuse’ when civil forfeiture is involved. You have no evidence so just take a seat and enjoy the smiles on the kids faces.

    10. JOEY says:

      No lights for MIDNIGHT B BALL?