March 29, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A Long Island City parks group is taking steps to make sure that last summer’s uptick in crime, trash and drag racing won’t make a return to the waterfront when the weather heats up.
The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a non-profit group that oversees the two waterfront parks in Long Island City, is holding a virtual meeting next week that aims to address these issues and discuss ways in which the community can stop troublesome behavior.
“This meeting is an opportunity for our elected officials, city and state park representatives, and law enforcement officials to address the concerns the community has,” said Rob Basch, president of the HPPC. “All parties are committed to working together to keep our parks safe, clean and welcoming for all.”
Basch said the meeting will bring all of the relevant stakeholders together to come up with plans to thwart any illegal or dangerous activity.
Last year, Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South Park were hotspots for late-night booze parties, illegal fireworks and dangerous drag racing. The parks were also vandalized, with the piers tagged with graffiti, among other incidents.
The issues prompted a group of residents to hire a private security firm to patrol the area. They claimed that the police were not doing enough to prevent crime. The group hired four security officers, who walked outside both parks in September and October to address quality-of-life issues.
The meeting will take place via Zoom on April 7, and representatives from the NYPD 108th Precinct, NYC Parks and New York State Parks will be participating.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer will also take part and the public will get a chance to weigh in and ask questions.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is expected to last around 90 minutes. It will be split into two parts with the first half consisting of remarks from officials who will share their safety plans and outline how they will be implemented.
The second half will be a Q & A session where residents will get a chance to raise issues about safety and security at the parks – and to ask questions.
Attendees will include Leslie Wright, the regional director of NYS Parks, which is the agency in charge of Gantry Plaza State Park. She will be joined by a member of the NYS Parks Police, the law enforcement arm of NYS Parks.
Officials from the NYC Parks dept., which oversees Hunters Point South Park, will be participating–including Queens Park Commissioner Michael Dockett and Parks Enforcement Patrol Captain Cynthia Thompson. PEP officers enforce the rules and regulations at city parks.
The 108th precinct, which polices the district, will be represented by Neighborhood Coordination Officer David Cortes.
Participants looking to take part in the meeting must register in advance by clicking here.
Residents can also submit questions during the registration process or by emailing questions in advance to [email protected].