NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Problems have been plaguing a park on the East Side of Manhattan, to the point where parents and families have been feeling afraid at their neighborhood playground.
CBS2 has visited Bellevue South Park before. CBS2’s Jessica Layton returned this week and has spent the past two days demanding answers.
On Friday, she got action.
People are seen passed out on park benches, smoking and drinking, and stumbling around just feet away from where kids are supposed to play. Bad as that is, the fenced off playground area is more serious, as single adults are not even supposed to be there unless they are with children.
The scene made moms such as Marlisa Popper feel threatened.
“I saw people very worrisome — drinking alcohol out in the park of brown paper bags. Feels very unprotected, “Popper said.
“You have to explain to your kids why there’s a man with like his pants pulled down, and going to the bathroom,” said Sara Abramson of Murray Hill. “There’s no police presence.”
People wonder why there are no police officers, considering the troubled Bellevue Men’s Shelter is just a couple of blocks away.
Aimless adults hanging around the playground equipment areas is against park rules, but parents say it happens all the time.
CBS2 saw it too. One man was caught on camera taking a gulp out of a brown paper bag and then spilling out the amber-colored liquid before CBS2’s Layton confronted him.
“You know you’re not allowed to drink here, right?” Layton asked the man.
“I don’t drink, I don’t drink,” the man replied.
CBS2 called the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to ask her to meet Layton and her crew at the park. A spokesman refused, saying she will be taking a tour of the park later this month.
CBS2 also demanded answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio about what could be done. There was no answer.
But suddenly came a message from the Department of Parks and Recreation.
“To improve safety and orderliness as quickly as possible, NYC Parks has assigned a Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer to Bellevue South Park for daily patrol, starting immediately,” the message said.
Whether it brings change to this park remains to be seen. Parents like Marlisa Popper will be watching.
“I wouldn’t want to be here by myself,” said Popper of Kips Bay.
CBS2’s Layton is told the patrols will be two times a day. She was also told the Parks Department wrote two tickets for people breaking the rules.
For two hours after CBS2’s crews got to the park around 4 p.m., no patrols were seen. But more drunk people drinking, people smoking cigarettes, and people smoking marijuana were seen.