NEW YORK POST:
Gangbangers peddle drugs in plain sight, hustlers resell cheap booze on the street corner — 50 cents will get you a capful — and prostitutes lead johns to the boarded-up husk of what used to be a Taco Bell.
This is Tompkinsville Park on Staten Island’s North Shore in 2018 and, to area residents and merchants caught in its heroin- and K2-infested vortex, this is a battlefield.
“Every day you see muggings, prostitutes, people smoking crack and shooting up heroin,” said Xhafer Gjeshbitraj, 52, who owns a building across the street from the tiny, triangular park bounded by Bay Street and Victory Boulevard.
“It’s a war zone, in the truest sense of the word.”
In the nearly four years since Eric Garner was killed in a struggle with an NYPD officer across the street from the park, locals claim the area has gone to the wolves, with cops hesitant to lay down the law at the risk of igniting another firestorm.
“Guys are not going to risk their jobs anymore,” said one high-ranking law enforcement source familiar with the precinct. “We’ll just let you have that area.”
Feeling they’ve been left to fend for themselves by the NYPD, residents of this embattled pocket are fighting to hold on to their community.
“Please don’t sell heroin on this stoop,” artist friend and tenant Alexis Scott painted on the blood-red door of Gjeshbitraj’s Bay Street building one day during a particularly rapid phase of the area’s downward spiral.
The next morning, Gjeshbitraj found a pile of used syringes waiting on the stoop, he says.