92nd Street Neighbors Demand Action On Youth Vandalism

For residents who live on 92nd Street in Woodhaven, enough is enough.

Several residents who live on the street next to M.S. 210 Elizabeth Blackwell School told the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association last week that they were fed up with what they claim have been numerous instances of several school youths damaging private property on their block.

Residents who spoke with The Forum after the meeting said that for years, they have experienced problems with different groups of rowdy youths who have made a pattern of damaging property on or around homes.

Warren Stecker, who lives on the block with his wife, Theresa, said that as recently as last week a youth had climbed on top of a tree on his property after school ended.

Theresa added that when her husband confronted them in past instances, the youths responded with vulgar and confrontational language.

“They’d say things like ‘What are you looking at?’ and ‘What are you going to do?’” she said. “We feel like the people in that movie ‘The Warriors’ because we have to take back our neighbor- hood.”

Stecker said he had spoken to police about the problem but he was cautioned by officers to avoid a physical altercation with the youths. As a result,

Stecker has been left frustrated with his perceived inability to do anything about the situation.

“So, they can walk up to me and say, ‘What are you going to do, [expletive]?’ and get away with it? I don’t think it’s fair.”

During last week’s 102nd Community Precinct Council meeting, one female resident claimed that another youth had climbed on top of her car while she was inside.

Janet Forte, another block resident, said that recently, one teenager had torn off a small cement ornament on the front of her lawn.

“It’s unbelievable; they don’t care,” she said with a shake of her head. “They jump over things; they break things. … I don’t know, I really don’t know [why].”

“Enough is enough. Something really has to be done,” Stecker said.

Ed Wendell, the block association president, said that he has heard this complaint from residents in the last several years, and had spoken with school and law enforcement officials from the 102nd Precinct — which covers the community — recently on the matter.

Rosalyn Allman Manning, principal of M.S. 210, declined to speak and deferred comment to the Department of Education’s press office.

A spokeswoman from the department said Tuesday that Manning was aware of the situation and had alerted school safety officials of the matter while making schoolwide announcements last week to students asking them to be courteous of other people’s property. However, Manning told the department that not all of the students involved in the incidents might be from M.S. 210, adding that there were other nearby schools in the area.

Wendell, who grew up around the area, said that such teen-related troubles on the block date back to his youth. However, he noted, youths of this era were “a whole different breed of toughness.”

In other news, the block association celebrated the birthdays of both Wendell and board member Maria Thomson — each this week — with birthday cakes during the meeting.

By Jean-Paul Salamanca


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