Showing posts with label 7th Street. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7th Street. Show all posts

Thursday, November 11, 2021

City removes tent encampment from 7th Street outside Tompkins Square Park

Photos by Stacie Joy

Starting late yesterday morning, another agencywide city sweep took place on Seventh Street between Avenue A and Avenue B along Tompkins Square Park. 

This time, however, instead of allowing the dozen or so residents of the makeshift tent encampments to pack up their possessions and move along (and only to return to the same spots a few hours later), city workers either confiscated or discarded their belongings. 

A posted Department of Homeless Services flyer stated that a clean-up of this area would start on or after Nov. 9. As EVG contributor Stacie Joy documented in this post, a similar sweep took place this past Friday, though the people who were sheltering here returned after city workers left.

This particular action only targeted people who have been staying along Seventh Street in recent months. Authorities did not address the encampments inside Tompkins Square Park.
The sweep started at 11 a.m. with officers from the NYPD, Parks Enforcement Patrol and the Business District Recovery Initiative detail. They struck down tents of anyone not on-site to protect their belongings. 

We're told that there were several confrontations at the outset of the sweep. (Stacie didn't arrive at the scene until after this.) One resident of the encampment was arrested and placed in an ambulance.

In addition, police arrested a mutual aid worker for "obstructing governmental administration Class A misdemeanor" for standing with/protecting a resident's tent. This individual was arrested at around 1 p.m. after exchanging words with the NYPD and released with a desk appearance ticket at around 7:30 p.m. 

During the afternoon, the assembled officers bagged the belongings from the tents. 
Some property was bagged and tagged, likely being stored at the NYPD's Erie Basin evidence warehouse in Red Hook, where the owners will need clearance from a judge plus ID to reclaim. 

Most items, however, were just thrown in the trash. The items were bagged and tossed directly into a waiting sanitation truck. In one case, an entire tent with its belongings was rolled up and discarded...
Lt. Jermaine Oden of the 9th Precinct oversaw yesterday's sweep. He told Stacie that "due to the pandemic, items were contaminated and not able to be saved." They "had to be destroyed." 

The corridor along the Park on Seventh Street was clear by late afternoon...
Afterward, Stacie saw one of the officers crying. "I felt bad for him. I do not think anyone was unaffected by this."

Previously on EV Grieve:

Monday, November 8, 2021

Documenting the city's 'clean-up' along Tompkins Square Park on 7th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy (click on images for a larger view)

On Friday afternoon, a Department of Homeless Services-led entourage, featuring the Department of Sanitation, the Parks Enforcement Patrol and the NYPD, conducted a "clean-up" in and along Tompkins Square Park.

Several posted notices, dated in late October and early November, detailed what would be taking place, a process that most of the residents — a number ranging from 10 to 25 at any given time — have experienced while sheltering along Seventh Street between Avenue A and Avenue B late this summer and early fall. 

The flyers also offer information about DHS shelter services and how to apply online for various grants...
EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there to document the proceedings. There were two sweeps — one on Seventh Street where nearly a dozen makeshift tent encampments have arrived since the late summer ... and the other inside the Park, where the people who had been congregating at the now-closed chess tables have moved.
The people staying on Seventh Street did everything themselves with trash bags and other items provided by the city: They cleaned up their areas, threw out some garbage, struck their tents and waited it out across the street... all under the supervision of the various city agencies... 
The clean-up went on mostly without incident. One man, clearly agitated, hurled insults at the Parks Enforcement Patrol and NYPD while filming them. They did not respond to his tirade, and he eventually stopped.
Stacie spoke with several of the people who have been living along Seventh Street. (She also had their permission to take photos.) 

They reported the same problems that we've heard countless times: the shelters aren't safe, they can't be with their partners and their personal belongings get stolen or destroyed. 

The people Stacie talked with said they continue to feel safer on the street than inside a city-run shelter. According to an April report by Coalition for the Homeless titled "View From The Street:"
"Shelters are considered by many homeless individuals as providing an unacceptably low level of personal security. The incidence of theft, physical attack, or other types of violations in the shelters — whether experienced, witnessed, or simply rumored — clearly contributes to the perception of the shelter system as chaotic and unsafe."

This article at The City documents why some people would rather stay on the streets.

Several of the residents living on Seventh Street are also experiencing substance-dependency issues. (NARCAN kits were spotted in some of the tents.)

On Seventh Street Friday afternoon, Junior was protecting his friend JD's tent and belongings. JD has a 9 to 5 job in New Jersey and wasn't there for the sweep. Junior carefully cleaned everything up, sat with it all, and set it back up when the enforcement team left. 
There's Jonny and Slay, a queer couple who are fiercely protective of one another.
Benny, a leader of sorts along here, issued directions for the others. He's been through this many times before and seemed resigned to the situation. He gave guidance for the others about what can, might and should happen. He was essentially correct. 

Sapphire, the only woman on the block, asked for help finding feminine hygiene products. 

Meanwhile, the sanitation and parks crews were much less discriminating inside the Park, tossing everything they saw along the benches on the southern section ...
This is also where residents witness more frequent open-air drug use (heroin and K2) and dealing.

Back on Seventh Street, the tents returned to their previous locations by nightfall, with the residents wondering when the next sweep might occur.

"Most asked me why they have to play a game like this. The Parks Department sergeant says they have to move their stuff or it will get tossed. The 9th Precinct says the residents can't obstruct access on the sidewalk and their belongings must remain attended to," said Stacie. "So they ended up striking their homes, temporarily moving across the street, and then coming back a few hours later and setting up in the same spots."

As housing advocates told the Times over the summer, these citywide sweeps just move people from one place to another and fail to address the housing crisis and provide stability, recovery and treatment to those who need it.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Good news-bad news about the water-main work on 7th Street and 1st Avenue

Here's some positive news about the roadwork taking place on the west side of First Avenue at Seventh Street in recent months.

A rep for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told Community Board 3 late last week that the contractor has completed the water-main installation on the west side of the intersection and between First Avenue and Second Avenue. 

Workers have also removed those noisy metal plates and filled in the roadway with temporary asphalt.

So far, so good with the west side of this intersection. However, the contractor is now scheduled to begin similar work on the east side of First Avenue and Seventh Street. 

According to the DEP rep, crews will be installing the new water main on the east sidewalk of First Avenue, "about 40 feet (give or take) to the north of the north curb line and 40 feet (give or take) to the south of the south curb line of Seventh Street."

In addition, the project calls for the installation of a water main pipe up to the mid-block on Seventh Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. (The rep said that this will be done without "disturbing" any outdoor dining structures on Seventh Street east of First Avenue.) 

"We have also requested the contractor to divide this work into phases," the DEP rep said. "This will minimize the number of road plates on location for the duration of the project."

No word on a timeline for the east side. The repair work on the west side of the intersection began in early May.
As previously reported, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December. The multiple ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

The work earlier this summer disrupted the lives of residents and businesses due to the all-consuming noise, both during the day when the work crew was on the scene and after-hours when cars and trucks would pass over the multiple metal plates on the roadway. (Read our posts here and here.)

Our coverage, as well as a follow-up piece in the Post, apparently got the attention of the DEP, who told the paper: 
"The ongoing upgrades to the critical infrastructure that serves the East Village must be carried out in a way that respects the residents and businesses in the area and we have directed our contractors to take several steps to ensure that this happens. Inspectors will be following up with regular visits."
Businesses and residents can file service complaints with Community Board 3 via this link

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Checking in on the intersection of 7th Street and 1st Avenue

Last week, EVG regular Daniel Efram reported on the hellish roadwork consuming the west side of First Avenue at Seventh Street.

Crews reporting to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) returned to the intersection to replace portions of the water main back in May

As previously reported, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December. The multiple ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

Neighbors talked about an all-consuming noise, both during the day when the work crew was on the scene, and after-hours when cars and trucks would pass over the multiple metal plates on the roadway.

Neighbors now report a slight improvement, as workers removed some of the metal plates and hauled away stacks of old pipes and other constructions materials left scattered on the curb along Seventh Street (thanks to Steven for these photos...)
Over the weekend, the Post picked up our story (even linking to EVG, a rarity — clunk).

The folks at E7 Deli & Cafe on the northeast corner of First Avenue and Seventh Street are understandably not happy. A few hours after their grand opening this past December one of the water main breaks flooded the basement.

"It is a big pain in the ass, I am pissed off," E7 owner Esam Alreyashi told the paper about the ongoing construction. "There's noise every day."

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera's office has been working with the DEP to clean up the site and do a better job of securing the metal plates.

The Post also got a comment from a DEP spokesperson:
"The ongoing upgrades to the critical infrastructure that serves the East Village must be carried out in a way that respects the residents and businesses in the area and we have directed our contractors to take several steps to ensure that this happens. Inspectors will be following up with regular visits."
Still no word on an end date for the work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

[Updated] Construction hell is consuming the intersection of 1st Avenue at 7th Street

Photos and story by Daniel Efram
The ongoing roadwork on the west side of First Avenue at Seventh Street continues to negatively impact the quality of life for both residents and business owners along this corridor. Noise from backhoes, earth flatteners, jackhammers, circular saws, and cars and commercial cartage trucks on the uneven metal plates on the streets and avenues have brought this intersection to a boiling point.

Piping and construction materials, garbage and standing water are the norms. Human waste oozes from the rarely emptied portable toilets. Worst of all — there isn't any timetable for the end of the roadwork.
Crews reporting to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) returned to the intersection to replace portions of the water main back in May

As previously reported, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December. The multiple ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. 

In the weeks/months after the breaks, there was a patchwork of quick fixes on the intersection, and a hodge-podge of sinkholes and cracked surfaces emerged

The DEP contractors covered the various holes with metal plates, and the sound of cars, trucks and buses driving over the plates overnight has disrupted the sleep of residents living within earshot.

   
A resident assembled the above video in March — a best-of montage of cars and trucks driving over the metal plates.
However, it's not just the noise — the reverberations have caused cracks in several nearby buildings. Two residents in the area said when they called 311, the city eventually dispatched inspectors, who subsequently fined the landlords for the cracks in the buildings exacerbated by the ongoing street repairs. Meanwhile, there has been near-constant jackhammering in the past two-plus months, with some complaints being lodged for work on Saturdays. Residents said they are also irked by workers apparently slacking off on the job and crews taking weeks off without explanation. "I live in one of the buildings on the corner and have had a front-row seat to the shoddy work and laissez-faire attitude of this crew since December," said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous. "They show up at 7 a.m. with a crew of six or so, stand around yelling to each other until about 10 a.m., work for an hour, take lunch, work for a little bit more and finish by 2 or 3 p.m." According to the resident, only a few workers will be active at any given time, and they "walk around like they own the block." "They have taken over a huge part of our block and make no effort to clean up where they have worked or minimize the effects on the residents," the resident said. According to the residents I spoke to, there appears to be little, if any, oversight on this sprawling project. Several residents said they have reached out to local elected officials, including City Council Member Carlina Rivera, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, to request immediate accountability with a transparent timeline — delivered by an independent third party. According to Rivera's office, there is someone assigned to oversee this case. Residents and business owners hope that elected officials can have the work expedited with a definitive timetable. (Anyone wishing to file a complaint can use the subject "7th Street & 1st Avenue Construction Complaints." Community Board 3 has a service complaint here.) Updated 8/5 We asked Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer for an update. She said that her office has asked the DEP for a timetable and signage to let people know what is happening. As for complaints, Stetzer said to let her office know via the service complaint form here.

"We will not be able to fix all the problems, but we can try to have mitigated as much as possible," she said. And residents should file a complaint sooner rather than later: CB3 has an interagency meeting that will include the DEP this coming Tuesday. "So it would be helpful to have complaints before then," she said.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Repairs finally for the 'warped' intersection of 1st Avenue and 7th Street

Workers from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are back at the intersection of Seventh Street and First Avenue to replace portions of the water main...
As you may recall, there were back-to-back breaks here in late December ... the ruptures sent water rushing into businesses and residences along Seventh Street

It took a while for these more substantial repairs. The "fucked-up street surface," as one nearby resident called it, has been a topic of frustration in conversations on the East Village Neighbors Facebook group (and in the EVG inbox) this late winter and early spring.

In the weeks/months after the breaks, there was a patchwork of quick fixes on the wonky-looking intersection...
Said one resident: "Basically, the second water main break warped the avenue ... They come out to jackhammer constantly, make a hole, fill it with dirt, and then it caves in. "

Then another sinkhole would form.

And after residents file a complaint: "They come, throw some asphalt onto a sunken hole, leave and nothing is fixed."
The DEP contractors then started covering the holes with metal plates instead ... and the sound of cars, trucks and buses driving over the plates overnight has disrupted the sleep of some residents living nearby.

Said the previously quoted resident: "The trucks wake me up at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 a.m. and I've started getting migraines, which I've never had."

Hopefully, the repairs that started this week will prevent any future breaks and stabilize the roadway — and put an end to the various headaches.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Batteries not included: Food and drinks options on this block of 7th Street

Last week, we reported that the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop would not be reopening on Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. When it debuted in 2011, this was the very first storefront for co-founderDoug Quint and Bryan Petroff.

In a letter about the closure, the founders understandably cited the challenges of running a business during a pandemic, and how difficult it would be to make it work on Seventh Street ... they also noted that what was once one of "the hottest food blocks" in the city wasn't what it used to be... that "[t]he batteries have gone a bit dim on that street."

It's true that Caracas Arepa Bar decided to close in November after 17 years, continuing on with their Williamsburg location instead. In addition last year, the now-global Luke's Lobster shut down their Seventh Street location, having outgrown the space. And there was the loss of Porchetta a few years back.

Still, we heard from a lot of readers who took exception to the claim that the block between Avenue A and First Avenue was dimming. While they appreciated the good cheer that Big Gay Ice Cream brought to Seventh Street for nearly 10 years, some readers contend the block has never been more vibrant — even during the pandemic. (The readers were also sorry to see the ice cream shop close, and hope that it can reopen elsewhere in the neighborhood some day.)

For starters, Pylos, Butter Lane and Ruffian (among others, like Papilles and Giano as well as dessert spots mochii and Jell & Chill) continue on.
Ravi DeRossi has three restaurants — Saramsam, a Filipino restaurant at 111 E. Seventh St. that opened in September, Ladybird and Avant Garden — on the block. (They are currently closed for a winter break.) His Overthrow Hospitality is preparing for the opening of a fourth establishment this year on the block — Cadencea take on southern soul food via chef Shenarri Freeman.

Meanwhile, several of the newer businesses seem to be a hit, including Ho Foods and 787 Coffee, which is a welcomed lively spot in the morning.

Meanwhile, four quick-serve businesses have opened in recent months... Shinn East ... Los Tacos ... plant-based, a vegan bakery, and the newly opened Medan Pasar, the Malaysian restaurant that has drawn rave reviews from Eater and Gothamist this year. 
In addition, Trash & Vaudeville still holds forth on the block... now in its 46th year of business (No. 5 on Seventh Street) ...
... and a look at the block from this past September...