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Motorized Bikes & Quality of Life Issues Addressed at NCO Meeting

 The temperatures weren’t the only thing that got heated on the boardwalk on Tuesday, June 29. As frustrations grow over summer issues, Tuesday’s meeting with the 100th Precinct’s Sector C Neighborhood Coordination Officers drew a big crowd.

Sector C NCOs Jonathan Mercado and Bryan Martini led the meeting on the boardwalk at Beach 126th Street, listening to everyone’s concerns and creating a list to bring back to Captain Carlos Fabara at the 100th Precinct. Elected officials such as Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and Robby Schwach, representing Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office were also on hand.

Officer Mercado started out by addressing some ongoing hot button issues. As a man on a motorized bike sped down the nearby ramp, it exemplified a growing concern in the community about the types of two-wheeled rides being used at high speeds. Officer Mercado tried to clarify what’s permitted on the boardwalk, such as e-scooters and e-bikes, but said motorized scooters and gas vehicles are not permitted. Senator Addabbo chimed in and said, “Anything with a motor should not be on the boardwalk.” Who is supposed to enforce this? Officer Mercado said both the NYPD and the Parks Department can give summonses. Asked if they can be confiscated, he said gas-powered scooters can, but e-bikes cannot. This led to questions about the “Tour de France” bikers who often ride at high speeds on the boardwalk. Much to everyone’s dismay, Officer Mercado said, “There is no speed limit for bicycles on the boardwalk.”

Mercado also touched upon the issue of illegal parking during the weekends and holidays, when cars are not permitted on the street in the summer months in that area. “It’s a problem. It doesn’t go away,” he said. Asked what they’re doing to address it, Officer Mercado said, “Cars are getting tickets but when you look at it, it’s like on 137th nobody is getting a ticket, on 129th, there’s some people getting tickets. We’re getting there but we need Traffic to get involved as well. They have more manpower and scanners,” he said. Complaints were also made about people parked in fire lanes, including those with orange shirts in their windows. “Those are technically our lifeguards,” Officer Mercado said. Some suggested that some lifeguards give their shirts to friends so that they can also park on the streets. “That’s an issue,” Officer Mercado said. “Last year they had a parking plaque. This year we weren’t told if they were given parking plaques, so those orange shirts are technically a parking plaque. That’s an issue we have to deal with, with the lifeguard supervisors.” 

Several participants brought up the issue of teens drinking, urinating, doing drugs and playing loud music close to residential homes. A neighbor said oftentimes they’ll go into the neglected Chai Home on Beach 125th Street and play loud music during late night hours. “I’ve notified the owner. He’s turning a blind eye toward it. That is a problem. I don’t see visibility with NYPD. We gotta keep calling at three in the morning and you guys don’t come out,” the Chai Home neighbor said. This expanded into a general discussion about behavior like this taking place on the beach and boardwalk late at night. The officers responded that they come out, and when they do, the kids flee, and then return when they’re gone. Residents suggested a more regular presence to which Officer Mercado said, “We are low on manpower. We haven’t received new officers from the academy.”

The 100th Precinct has, however, received 40 summer detail officers this summer, almost double the number they saw in past summers under former Captain Louron Hall. Residents suggested they utilize those extra officers to patrol the boardwalk. The officers explained that due to new legislation, they are not allowed to bring their vehicles on the boardwalk. Asked if they can ride Gators on the beach, Officer Mercado said the entire precinct only has two Gators and officers must be qualified to ride them. The summer detail officers are only patrolling by foot. The officers said they would try to request more vehicles.

One participant suggested that everyone at the meeting write a letter to the commanding officer and elected officials as a follow up. Assemblywoman Amato encouraged residents to send some of those letters to her office, but said they’ve been fighting for more resources for years. “We requested it. We’ve requested more officers, four-wheel drive vehicles. We request everything we possibly can. But there is a cop shortage, so the fact that we have 40 summer officers is a blessing because the 102, 106 and 101 precincts don’t have that, so they’ve recognized the years of talking about more patrols needed on the beach. We had a meeting with Parks. Enforcement is weak. It’s a big issue,” she said.

Addabbo added, “You can have the greatest laws in the world. It’s all about enforcement. We didn’t have some of these problems under the Bloomberg administration. This is in part because of the mayor that’s there now, not enforcing quality of life issues. I’m hopeful with whoever the next mayor is, we can resolve some of these quality of life issues.”

Some of the other quality of life issues brought up included safety on Beach 116th Street. Liz Hanna, who has been working to beautify the block, said that she had an issue and went to Transit District 23 to notify an officer for assistance, and was told they couldn’t do any-thing, and to call 911. Officer Mercado agreed more needs to be done. “116 is turning into a free-for-all,” he said. He said he will request that Beach 116th be assigned a business patrol officer, like there used to be years ago.

Another concerned resident brought up the issue of a homeless man who resides near the school on Beach 112th Street. The officers said they were aware of this person but essentially, they cannot do more than offer him help. ”He’s on a public sidewalk. We’ve called legal on this multiple times. We had homeless outreach, but that’s gone now,” Officer Mercado said.

Another resident brought up the issue of excessive dog waste being left on the beach. She explained the severity of it as a friend’s child recently died due to meningitis and doctors said it was because of coming into contact with dog feces. The family doesn’t have a dog, but the child came across dog feces while playing in the sand.

Officer Mercado advised people in Sector C to notify them of any other issues. Officer Mercado can be emailed at: Jonathan.Mercado@nypd.org. Officer Martini can be emailed at: Bryan.Martini@nypd.org. They recommended that if they can’t be reached, people should report to 311 and 911 rather than call the precinct directly.

By Katie McFadden

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