NEW YORK - The NYPD has announced the seizure of hundreds of vials of cocaine, decks of heroin, and cash from a drug dealer in Tompkins Square Park. But residents who frequent the East Village park tell FOX 5 NY that police have only skimmed the surface of a much seedier situation.
A visit to the park on Friday uncovered numerous needles, baggies, and other evidence of illicit drug use in just minutes.
"We've been in the neighborhood for 12 years," said a mother with her children. "I’ve seen things in the past year… things we haven't seen ever."
Parkgoers say the sight of crack smoking and needle injecting is the new norm here.
"It affects you emotionally to see it," said a parkgoer. "It’s very sad to see someone doing drugs."
The NYPD said officers from the nearby 9th Precinct were aware of the condition of the park, that police are deployed regularly inside the park during the day, and that it is locked and lit up each night.
But Allie Ryan, founder of Friends of Tompkins Square Park, says police are inconsistently locking the park at night due to issues with manpower shortages. She says she has filed multiple 311 complaints and formed the group in a desperate attempt to help clean the underfunded park that has become a hazard to their pets and kids.
The NYPD tweeted Tuesday its public safety team recovered 242 vials of cocaine, 108 decks of heroin, and $834 from a drug dealer, promising to deploy more resources to the park.
"We’ll see people shooting up, dealing drugs, and prostitution as well." Ryan said, "It's very disturbing."