Thursday, August 12, 2010
Jamaica now full of more bums than ever
From the Daily News:
Drew Spitler sees the brighter side of Jamaica. His development firm, the Manhattan-based Dermot Company, was selected by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to redevelop an old courthouse in downtown Jamaica.
There, Spitler sees what could be the best side of the community: People shopping, folks enjoying street fairs and movies in Rufus King Park, and workers in hard hats building new projects. That all brings positive energy to an area that hasn’t always been so vital to the success of the New York City-Long Island border.
"It’s a neighborhood in transformation," Spitler says.
I'll say. Read this from the Queens Chronicle:
Take a stroll through Rufus King Park and you will find vagrants sleeping on benches or playing dominoes on top of trash cans. They have become a familiar part of the landscape, one that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
Ed Nielsen, the acting engineer and managing operator at the closed Mary Immaculate Hospital, located across the street from Rufus King Park, says he is constantly escorting homeless people, sometimes 10 per day, off the premises.
“When they get drunk, they could kill you,” he said. “I see them fighting. They fight with each other all the time. I had an argument with them, trying to remove them from the property, and one guy threatened me.”
But even before the hospital closed, the vagabonds and their lascivious actions posed a problem. Nielsen recalled one incident, in which he found a homeless couple, intoxicated and having sex on the grounds.
“I caught them right in the act,” Nielsen said. “The woman had her legs up in the air and she was so drunk, she couldn’t even get up to cover herself. I had to put gloves on and cover her with boxes and stuff.”
Resident Amy Anderson, 65, who has lived in the area her whole life, says Jamaica has become “the bowels of the earth,” and claims she sees 20 homeless people on average per day.
“There was a Hispanic woman, who a week ago Saturday at 8 a.m. in the morning was sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk in her own urine,” Anderson said. “Why isn’t this problem being addressed? The people in charge keep saying the area is great, but they don’t live in the center of it and we do.”
Oh well, at least the park has WiFi now...