By Joy Bergmann
Earlier this week, the First Baptist Church stretched a “No Trespassing” sign and chain across its steps on the northwest corner of W. 79th and Broadway.
“The House Committee and the pastor put it up in conjunction with the precinct,” a church spokesperson tells WSR. “There’s been a lot of loitering, drinking, fighting…it was put up to [mitigate] all that.”
People have long used the steps as a place to sit for extended periods of time. The corner has also seen recent acts of violence.
Two women were violently assaulted on December 2nd.
On December 14th, a man known to the group that frequents the steps allegedly attacked several men with a golf club, an NYPD spokesperson confirmed. On that afternoon, WSR witnessed one of the victim’s injuries; EMTs had wrapped his head with gauze, but blood continued to drip down his face. He told WSR he didn’t want to go to the hospital for treatment.
“It’s getting out of control,” says Dale Brown, President of the West 79th Street Block Association.
At multiple 20th Precinct Community Council meetings this fall, residents asked for an increased NYPD presence at the corner. And at the Community Board 7 January meeting held this past Tuesday, a resident again expressed concerns about safety at 79th and Broadway. A representative from the 20th Precinct did not attend the CB7 meeting to answer her questions.
Looking ahead, it’s unclear what legal force the “no trespassing” sign will wield.
On Monday, new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued a policy letter to his staff that included a list of offenses they will no longer prosecute under ordinary circumstances unless a case also includes at least one felony count. Among them: “Trespass, PL §§ 140.05, 140.10, 140.15, unless the trespass is a family offense pursuant to CPL § 530.11, accompanies any charge of Stalking in the Fourth Degree under PL § 120.45, or is approved by an ECAB supervisor.”
It’s remarkable that people just reflexively vote for the D candidates.
I’m a D.
I voted for Adams.
But I’m not afraid to vote for Rs when that candidate is better than the D.
Now we have Bragg. So next time you witness or are involved in a crime, remember that the perpetrator will likely not be punished.
Remember that Mr. Bragg is an elected official and likely to be watching the political fallout from his policies and likely to get an earful soon from Mayor Adams.
I for one hope that the Rag is present at the New York Criminal Court (Part B) on February 1 at 9am when Darrell Johnson is set to appear. Remember Mr. Johnson? He’s the one who, with other assault charges pending, was let go and is then accused of assaulting two women on this very corner in early December. One of the women—out to walk her dog at 9 in the morning—suffered a disfiguring laceration and was knocked unconscious. Mr. Johnson is simply going to walk away from this with no consequences? Really? Let’s see how long Mr. Bragg’s policies stay in place.
Thanks for the reminder: maybe we should all go.
Oh fellow Upper westsidera, we are in for a dreadful 4 years:
I hope Rag will follow up on that. This is the safety of our neighborhood.
Not sure why your note has to generalize to all of a certain group, including yourself. It’s as if you have to blame Democrats, in a vindictive way. We all want the same things. A peaceful neighborhood, City and our country. I have a committee for you to join,to work on a plan with the Police Department to improve safety and justice. Or are you not interested in contributing to such an initiative?
It’s kind of hard to not generalize when all the relevant elected politicians in this locality are Democrats.
Call Mayor Adams a Democrat is about like calling Bloomberg a Democrat.
Oh please, Elenor.
Do you really not believe that many if not most UWS democrats just vote along party lines without careful thought?
At this point, people here hate the GOP (understandably in light of Trump and his legacy) so they won’t vote for any republican.
I’m sure your committee is very well-meaning. I’m also sure it will lead to no measurable change.
What we need is for voters to be informed and make choices based on the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
Trespassing is legal now in Manhattan, didn’t you know? Along with fare jumping.
When I enter the subway nowadays
I feel like a fool because I am often
the only person who actually pays the
fare. There is absolutely no enforcement
whatsoever. Also no enforcement of
mask requirement. The city has
descended into an utter state of
Feel same way when riding a bus. Every other person simply walks on and sits down.
That’s odd. I ride the subway regularly and I would say that over 95% of those I ride with wear masks. Most people pay their fares (not to say that many don’t – and that does need to be cracked down on). I also walk and drive and find that the vast majority of drivers stop for red lights. And to date I haven’t been attacked on the street or in the subway. So I don’t understand “utter lawlessness.” Things are far from perfect but maybe we’re living in different cities.
Not legal – the laws are still on the books.
So what. If it’s not prosecuted, it’s legal. I can buy marijuana from a truck on Broadway and 95th almost every day. That’s illegal too but the police ignore it.
As long as the law is on the books, it’s illegal. The police can still arrest you. And don’t think for a minute that if thousands of people become farebeaters that it won’t happen.
While you’re correct in saying the laws are on the books and the police can still arrest those who break those laws such as trespassing and fare beating; – The Manhattan District Attorney was quite clear in his memo to his staff that he will not prosecute those laws, even though they are indeed on the books.
So the police can arrest whoever they want but the Manhattan DA won’t prosecute so they will never see the inside of a courtroom and will be immediately released.
Exactly. What is the point of having a law if it is not prosecuted?
Turning away the needy, exactly what Jesus would have wanted.
I need to hit you over the head with a golf club.
Jesus was a palestinian Jew who lived 2,000 years ago in the Roman Empire and thought that the world would end in his lifetime– that everyone had to repent or else they wouldn’t be allowed into God’s kingdom, which was going to arrive imminently and overthrow the Romans. Therefore it isn’t relevant what Jesus would have wanted. What is relevant is that in the year 2021 we have safe, orderly, and clean neighborhoods where old ladies aren’t being mauled in the street by lunatics, and where such dangerous lunatics are required to accept medical treatment or leave.
He was not a Palestinian Jew.. There was no Palestine. It was Judea that Romans conquered
When you can’t get your facts straight, you lose all credibility regardless of your “point.”
LOL – to both comments. A.) nowhere in the scripture does it say that Jesus thought the world would end in his time and B.) yes there was a Palestine- The region – no longer called “israel” (as israel was entirely lost in 720 BCE) and the region under the Roman government was called Syriac-Palestine.” “Israel” remained a people, not a land. Go back to your Bible and read it more with an actual hermeneutic.
The Roman Legions, commanded by General Titus, sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the 2nd Holy Temple in the year 70 CE. The country of Judea,homeland of the Jewish People, was renamed “Palestina” by the Roman authorities,as a insult to remind the Judeans of their ancient enemies – the Philistines, who had been the original inhabitants of Gaza.
But Mike, This entire area had been called Palestinia by the ancient Greeks and Romans. And Judea was just the name for the southern Kingdom within this area, the northern Kingdom having been Judea.
Sorry, the northern Kingdom had been “Israel”.
you completely missed the point of my post. good job.
He may have missed your point , but the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew is laughable. Under no circumstance would he have considered himself Palestinian. I agree with your overall point.
Great Point…..I believe it was Matthew 3:14 that says “though shall loiter and harass pedestrians, while conducting nefarious business dealings and attacking thy fellow man”
It is the church’s responsibility to care for these mentally ill, not NYC?? They commit billions upon billions of dollars and have essentially unlimited resources. I’m sure the church would be happy to offer these people a meal, but these people need serious help, far far more than a single parish could ever offer.
Must be a nice view from your high horse unless, of course, you actually spend your days on that corner helping the mentally ill and chancing physical assault.
Cry me a river. Feel free to take the place of a victim of violence anytime.
Is that an actual functioning church property? I do not think I have ever seen the doors open or people going in or out.
The Church should install an iron gate to surround the property steps. It may be expensive but it must be done. It’s going to be difficult to maintaine the integrity of this historic church without increasing protection against the current climate of crime. Allowing pan handlers to take up residence along the broadway side of the church has to stop. if the community can help in any way we will. But the Church itself has to make a significant effort to move forward in an effort to safeguard their own property.
Yup. See many churches with big gates that get locked after church hours. Gotta adjust to the times.
How about 3rd degree misdemeanors:
With intent to cause physical injury to
another person, causes such injury to such
person or to a third person; f you or a loved one is charged with Assault in the Third Degr
Recklessly causes physical injury to
Iee in NYC, retaining an experienced NYC Assault Lawyer is crucial in achieving a favorable outcome.
They should be charged and held WITH BAIL
What about adding wrought iron fencing to gate off the steps?
Perhaps a “go-fund-me” could be set up for community donations to cover the costs, or maybe there is city funding available.
It’s probably landmarked which means no changes or improvements for ever and ever and ever…
This may be a naive question, but if someone has a head wound and is dripping blood shouldn’t the police call an ambulance even if the person doesn’t want to go to the hospital? Maybe he wasn’t thinking clearly if he was hit in the head with a golf club. Was this act violence considered a felony?
These people need help. Letting them loiter was not helpful for them or the rest of society. Those who act high and mighty and think they are looking out for the downtrodden are only making themselves feel good.
Kendra’s law is in place for a reason. Someone who cannot take care of themselves and function normally and poses a threat to others should be taken somewhere where they can receive mental health help. And that can be anywhere in New York State or even the US – it should not be solely NYC’s issue.
Deuteronomy 15:11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.”
Look, I don’t think that this church should be held solely responsible for solving every social problem in the city. There will never cease to be poor in the land. But what exactly does this no trespassing sign do? It deprives people of a place to sit and rest and forces them a few feet away. It does nothing at all to prevent violence or make the neighborhood safer. It just pushes these people away and tries to make it someone else’s problem. The people causing the problems aren’t going anywhere and this sign does nothing to change that. That’s why this sign is so offensive – it’s needlessly callous for no benefit. “Just be meaner to them” is not a solution to the homeless problem.
The DA’s retreat from holding violent people to account is infuriating and disheartening. I feel increasingly less secure living here. For my fellow citizens who supported Mr. Bragg’s candidacy and are dismayed by this further erosion of standards, forget about complaining that you didn’t see it coming. Unfortunately, it sucks for all of us.
Unless the chain is a preliminary measure that leads to an iron gate, it is a pathetic gesture.
Violent crimes are prosecuted under the Bragg memo. Please read the memo.
Really, Bragg has said “don’t prosecute violent assaults”?
No, he hasn’t.
I live in this neighborhood. The gents that frequent these steps are known to me. They have been loitering between 79th to 84th for well over a year. Often getting drunk, breaking bottles, etc… Unfortunately they moved stone’s throw away >> hanging out on the SE corner of 79th. They are able bodied men that can do something in life, get jobs etc…they unfortunately choose not too.
I am sure this was a painful decision for the church; however, walking past that corner frequently, I can certainly see why it felt necessary to take this measure. Our city needs objective enforcement of the law, conducted as fairly and as compassionately as possible, but without compromising the quality of life for the great majority (or putting institutions such as the Baptist Church in an impossible situation).
There were no Palestinians, as we know it, in the time of Jesus. He was a Nazarene. Islam hadn’t been invented yet.
The problem with Bragg was right out there but he won in spite of it. People don’t read before they vote.
It will be interesting to see what the other Borough DA’s and Mayor Adams do. It might be possible to be arrested and charged for the same crime in one subway station and not another.
I agree. We need police at the intersection of Broadway and W. 79th Street. The mall and the church steps are a hangout for rowdy people.
What happened to “Community Policing”? I rarely see the police walking the streets of the UWS. Where are they? I only see them when they are in their cars racing to crimes, instead of being visible and possibly preventing crime.
I hope the new mayor starts an initiative to get more police on the street and near the people they serve.
There’s a lack of any policing! And a whole lot of excuses from everyone with any authority. Plant 2-4 cops on that corner everyday who actually do some policing and see if it doesn’t change. But that service to our communities seems to have gone away during the De Blasio Administration. The UWS is plagued with the problems of homelessness more so than most neighborhoods. And the quality of life has suffered as well as the feeling of security. I don’t blame the church at all.
Unfortunately, with the bail reform laws and now DA Bragg’s pronouncement, the revolving door will continue and perhaps even widen. These two factors – bail reform and Bragg’s new policy – are exactly why you won’t see more cops on the beat or on the subways – why should they bother when they know the alleged suspect will just get out for the 19th time; it’s more of hassle to go to court for them especially when that time results in no time.
Yes, Albany’s “bail reform” and now D.A. Bragg’s “get soft on crime” policies ARE disheartening.
BUT things could be worse!
HOW??? Imagine if a true anti-police type like Maya Wiley (once chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board), or “Paperboy Prince (wanted police to reward people for doing good as an alternative to spotting violations) had won!
Hmmm… I guess you feel that police have no deterrent effect? That is what the Defund the Police people argue.
That is precisely the opposite of what is happening. There ARE no police (well, fewer police) and so crime has gone up. Based on the ideas of defund the police, fewer police would have no effect on crime.
I’m just tired. Every single day, I’m concerned and disheartened for the absolutely diligent and committed people who man the news kiosk. It’s a hard job complicated by obviously difficult hangers on blocking their passersby and their lively hoods. I’m accepting of the new normal but it doesn’t make it suck any less. Forget about me and other long timers. It’s dangerous for everyone, Young and old. After 40+ years, I am over being thrust back to the 80s. I’m tired of adjusting to passive intimidation, and actual physical danger. It sucked then and to my disbelief, it sucks more today. That a church has been left holding the bag is disgraceful to them and to us. I’m just so very, very tired.
This is not political. For heavens sake. It’s about right and wrong. What am I missing when I’m looking across my shoulder just to cross the street?
I wonder what % of crime victims move out of NYC afterward. My worry is that this will cause population outflows.
I’ve never understood the lack of UWS criticism regarding the 20th precinct’s abysmal neighborhood policing.
There’s a lot of “liberal” all lives matter types who believe the police are never at fault
Get used to it. Dont know if the DSW space will ever be rented out again, so be prepared for homeless and others to congreate and occupy the street on the store perimeter.
So glad this action has finally been taken. Besides the loitering that has frequently occurred the newpaper boxes have been used to display dirty laundry and other garbage. This used to be a clean neighborhood—maybe it will be again.
Sadly, those steps and that area have become very sketchy of late. You get off or on the subway there & it wreaks of pot smoke. You see people on the steps doing drugs. It had made that area kind of scary. But can that chain really stop anyone from hanging on those steps?
Somebody needs to tell this church that trespassing is no longer a crime in Manhattan. The new DA has made it clear that his office will not prosecute it as an offense.
You get what you vote for.
I think the city has things backward by not prosecuting non-violent crimes. No crime should be tolerated! I’m not a big fan of Giuliani, but he got it right by cracking down on “quality-of-life” crimes. The trend in crime discouragement trends upward. It does not trickle downward. If even the smallest crime is not tolerated, there will be less major crime committed.
Open drug use.
Throwing garbage at pedestrians
( i’m not sure if this was intentional, or they just threw their garbage out onto the sidewalk like a basketball court)
My 12 year old daughter was walking home by the church at 7 PM, and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of responses here where may be she shouldn’t of been out at that time?
Regardless, one of the men exposed himself to her on the church steps.
I did call the church and I think that might’ve been one of the reasons why they put the gate up. They are trying to protect the children in the neighborhood.
Impressed that this has sprawled into a arguments about, among other things, Christian theology and geopolitical boundaries and political identities in the Roman era. So proud to live on the UWS. And at the same time, a little bit worried about everyone’s mental health! Smiley face smiley face.