Only a handful of residents attended the 63rd Precinct Sector D Build the Block meeting held two days before Thanksgiving, but it led to a meaningful discussion about a problem one resident had with quality of life issues at a public space across the street from a migrant shelter.
Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) Jonathon Perez and Mario Guerrero listened to neighborhood complaints and gave advice about how to manage disputes and volatile situations in Sector D, which covers Glenwood, Flatlands and New Amersfort, at the meeting held at Purpose Life Church, 1895 Flatbush Avenue, on November 21st.
Homeowner Rose Walker, a longtime resident who works from home, lives near the contested triangle-shaped grassy area located between East 53rd Street and Foster Avenue, situated along the Kings Highway service road that’s across from the shelter. Formerly known as the Holiday Inn Express, the hotel closed its doors to the public on September 1, 2022, according to a sign on the door.
She had numerous complaints about loitering and noise from scooter operators, day laborers and families with numerous school-aged children out on the streets when they should be in school, loud music playing from open car doors and hair cutting. Littering, trash, barbecuing and eating there has also led to problems such as garbage and rats for about a year.
“I’m really uptight about it and it consumes me,” she said. “My family had to tell me to relax.” She understood it was a “symptom of a bigger issue” but felt frustrated because her mortgage went up and her quality of life went down.
Walker said that the garbage blows onto her property and rats got into her car twice, causing damage and expense. She observed car break-ins, arguments and fights, as well as people sitting on private property and cars all along Foster Avenue and surrounding streets.
Perez and his partner monitored the situation and acted when possible. “If you call it and we observe it, then we can address it, but if it’s not observable, we can’t address it,” Perez said. It’s not a park so is not enforceable by park rules and there is no curfew.
He had numerous conversations with the people hanging out there, who are cooperative and pleasant, but also had to remove scooters and tow cars, which upset some of them.
Community member Jermaine Clement said that they aren’t allowed hotplates, hair dryers and high voltage electronics, and they have other limitations that make them want to come outside. Walker said they need to work or find things to do instead of hanging out at the triangle.
Perez said he will try to give them information about language classes, youth programs and services. He encouraged residents to keep calling and texting to keep him informed of problems and he will do what he can to help.
“It’s a bigger issue and we have a good group,” Perez said. “They haven’t been doing much and it’s good that we come together and talk because now we understand a little bit about what’s going on.”