A False Oasis in a Sea of Cement

Today the parks are safer, cleaner and offer more activities than they did fifteen years ago. For an unknown reason New Yorkers had, for better or worst, abandoned using many of the parks.  Mayor Rudy Giuliani , showing determination and foresight set, out to reclaim the City’s parks  and streets from the drug dealers and addicts. The Mayor promised to restore the parks to usefulness for all New Yorkers. He invested the financial and political resources necessary to save the parks from complete irrelevancy. The City must always be on guard to protect a park and its users from unscrupulous elements.

The vagrancy and public display of drunkenness of the immigrant men in Park of the Americas located in Corona Queens should concern local resident and the political representatives.

Corona is densely populated section of the Borough of Queens, NYC. This neighborhood is located near Flushing Meadows Park, Citi Field (home of the forever losing Mets) and the USTA Tennis center which serves as the home for the US Open in late August. The streets are lined with private homes that are often illegally subdivided and full of tenants. According to the 2000 US Census 64 % of Corona’s residence were Hispanic/Latino with Black and Asians comprising respectively 14% and 10% of the community’s population. The most recent US Census figures (2010) reveal that the percentage of Hispanic/Latinos has increased to about 73 % while all over groups percentages have decreased. Over time the percentage of Hispanic/Latinos will increase while their median income level decreases. Corona is slowly transforming itself into a ghetto with all of the social-economic trappings. Furthermore Mexican gang  activity in Corona has been a growing problem since the 2000s. Yet, a persuasive and ever more noticeable problem is alcoholism, which is quickly ruining the quality of life for the residents of Corona.

NYC’s Park of the Americas is located between 103rd and 104th Streets, and between 41st and 42ndAvenues. The park is located behind the now closed Corona movie theater. By any standard the park is relatively small, sitting on about 3 acres. Trees and grass covers cover much of the area. The park, formerly known as Linden Park, was renovated in 2004 to include a small baseball area that was covered with an artificial turf. Other needed improvements were also made. Then City Council member Monserrate allocated $600,000 from his discretionary fund to revitalized  the park.

During July’s oppressive heat the park was full of mothers and their children using the parks facilities, especially the cooling water spray. Bathing suits were not a prerequisite to using the water spray. Little league baseball games are regularly played in the park. During the colder months soccer is played on the baseball field. The park serves a center for many activities.

I often pass this park while exercising or visiting with clients or business contacts in the area. From what I have observed the local community takes full advantage of the park. This past July I entered the park on a few occasions. The park’s air is noticeably cooler than the air of the surrounding streets.

Local business owners and people who work near the park have voiced concern for the park’s more dubious and scandalous character. They suggest that the park is being transformed into a “barrio de Ecuador.” Legions of men, mostly Ecuadorians, litter the park as drunken fixtures. These men set up camp in sections of the park or right on the other side of the fence. They argue and fight among themselves. When night engaging in drunken acts of violence the men defecate and urinate in and about the park. Mothers with the children walk over and pass men who have passed out due to excessive alcohol consumption. I cannot understand why these women do not demand better security for themselves and children. Maybe because of culture or some other affinity to the drunken men, the women (and their husbands) seem to tolerate the presence of this disturbing element. It has been suggested to me that the problem is not a question of tolerance but people who are accustomed to this particular lifestyle.

I think that the presence of so many drunken men around small children is a time bomb ticking down to an explosion. The police can detain and arrest people who are drunk in public. The question must be asked why NYC hasn’t done something about the alcohol problem in Park of the Americas. In 2010 The Parks Department and the NYPD arrested

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