Open air drug market operating just steps from Central Park: report

Mike Montone
March 25, 2019 - 11:22 am
Reports say an open air drug market is being run just steps away from Central Park.

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- An open air drug market is operating just steps from Central Park, the New York Post reports.

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According to a Post investigation, dealers are working the street in broad daylight on St. Nicholas and Lenox avenues between West 111th and West 112th Streets. Nearby, addicts allegedly consume the wares while cops stand by and do nothing to intervene.

“During any time of the night or day you’ll either see an active narcotic sale, active narcotic use, or someone out of their mind half naked and in a zombie state,” one man said, “I never would’ve thought one block from Central Park somehow open crack use is ok. It’s getting unbearable… my wife and I are thinking about moving to New Jersey at this point.”

The Post says dealers and customers have been spotted making handshake exchanges of cash and drugs on eight different occasions. People have also been reported smoking 'small white balls of crack,' with one man passing out on a median. Users were also observed trading cash for cans at a nearby bottle exchange before using their new found funds to buy drugs.

Workers at Wonder Fried Chicken & Pizza say cops haven't been much help, and dealers have turned the eatery into their headquarters.

“I try to chase them out and they beat me up many times. They say ‘if you don’t like it, you go. We are not going anywhere. This is our spot,’” said a worker.

In one instance a reporter from the Post had to pose as a Health Department official to safely interview staff at the restaurant.

The police department says they've been cracking down on quality of life crimes in the area.

“The commanding officer of the 28 precinct and the narcotics borough commander are actively working. . . to eradicate narcotics, arrest perpetrators, and target quality of life crimes in the area,” the NYPD said in a statement.

But residents say they haven't gotten much help, even when they call the cops.

“He’s like ‘no, no, no. That’s not the way things work. Unless the police officer sees them smoking crack, they can’t do anything. If they search them, they’re going to get sued, so they won’t do it,’” explained a man who says he called police after witnessing someone smoking crack.

Residents say cops never stick around for long, and that homeless shelters and halfway houses in the area keep neighborhood stocked with customers.

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