March 4


Mayor Adams Holds Community Conversation with Canarsie Residents

March 4, 2024

Vol. 104 No. 10

On Monday, February 26th, hundreds of Canarsiens packed the gymnasium at the Canarsie Educational Campus, located at 1600 Rockaway Parkway, in the hopes of having their grievances heard and addressed at a Community Conversation hosted by Mayor Eric Adams.

They came with a myriad of gripes which related mainly to quality of life issues, some of them involving crime. The mayor assured everyone that he and his team of over 40 commissioners, which included NYPD, were there to listen and provide answers.

Nigel Dupree, president of Breukelen Houses (NYCHA), posed the first of dozens of questions to the mayor. He wanted to know what could be done about the illegal, annoying e-bikes that zip through the streets, often terrorizing many residents. In response, the mayor called on NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell, who acknowledged that “it’s a quality of life issue, but it’s also a heavy crime issue” and reported that in the past two years, the NYPD successfully confiscated over 50,000 illegal ATVs, mopeds and ghost cars from those who “drive all over our city, thinking they’re going to use our communities as a playpen.”

The frustrated residents also vented about homeless people sleeping on the “L” trains, especially in the wee hours of the morning, instilling fear in commuters rushing off to work; the constant, overwhelming stench that pervades the atmosphere “since they made marijuana legal;” and illegal smoke shops that pop up faster than they’re closed down. “Listen,” the mayor quipped, “Don’t get me started on the cannabis law. You know, we need to close them down.” Adams even promised to visit one of the addresses where youths gather regularly and smoke, right after the meeting.

There were also questions about afterschool programs that could keep children gainfully engaged as opposed to being on the streets and getting involved in illegal activities. One parent, Charmaine Antwine, who has lived in Canarsie for over 40 years, inquired about having a “state-of-the-art facility” built for that purpose.

When asked by the mayor to describe what “state of the art” meant to her, Antwine stated, “A combination of STEM with sports. We want technology, we want instruction, we want skill sets built here in Canarsie so that our children don’t have to move elsewhere in order to utilize their education.”

Commissioner Keith Howard, from the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), informed her that “we actually have a high school program in this very building that teaches medical profession. We also have our YES program—our Youth Enrichment Service program—that teaches conflict mediation in this very building.” The mayor also stated that there were other “amazing programs” in robotics and STEM.

Kenita Lloyd, Deputy Chancellor for the Department of Education, added, “This district was recently awarded a $1.1 million MBK [My Brother’s Keeper] grant that supports additional afterschool programming. All middle schools have afterschool in District 18, so that supports our ability to keep our young people off the street, to keep them safe, to keep them active and to keep them engaged.”

Clearly, every issue could not be addressed at the meeting. Attendees were each given a card to submit any additional complaints that were not discussed during the “conversation” and were promised that a response would be sent to the contact provided, within two weeks.

District Leader Frank Seddio and Mayor Eric Adams
Eileen Level expressing her concern to Mayor Adams about the Canarsie Theater, which has been vacant for decades.
Mayor Adams and NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell acknowledge to Nigel Dupree, president of Breukelen Houses, that illegal e-bikes are also a heavy crime issue.
Mayor Adams listens to a question posed by Maria Garrett, a Canarsie civic leader and community advocate.
A young Canarsie resident, who has a very long commute to her college, inquires about adding ferry service to Canarsie.




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